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If you were injured on the job, you might be wondering, Can I sue workers’ comp for pain and suffering? 

When you file a personal injury claim, you can recover medical bills, time off work, pain and suffering, and mental anguish. Understandably, you might assume it’s the same with workers’ compensation claims. However, you cannot pursue your employer for payment related to your pain and suffering in a workers’ comp claim. 

Workers’ compensation is a no-fault system, which means you don’t have to prove that your employer was negligent to receive compensation. The downside of this system, however, is that the compensation you can recover is limited to medical bills and wage-replacement benefits. Nevertheless, there may be some limited scenarios where you could pursue a claim for pain and suffering against a third party.

If you have questions about the compensation you will receive from a work-related accident, you need to speak with an experienced St. Paul workers’ compensation attorney.  

Can I Sue for Pain and Suffering in a Workers’ Comp Case?

At Arechigo & Stokka, one of the most common questions we get is, does workers’ comp pay for pain and suffering? 

Pain and suffering damages are meant to compensate you for the physical discomfort you experienced from your injuries caused by someone else’s negligence. It may also address your emotional pain, including sadness, depression, anger, etc. 

Pain and suffering typically falls outside the scope of workers’ compensation coverage. Each state’s laws may differ some, but generally, you won’t be able to pursue pain and suffering damages in a workers’ comp claim. 

Where pain and suffering and workers’ compensation can intersect is when a third party is involved and has some fault for your injuries on the job. If you were involved in an accident while driving between job inspection sites, for example, you could sue the driver who caused the accident. This would allow you to receive pain and suffering damages from the driver, as well as your workers’ compensation benefits.

How to Prove Pain and Suffering

Pain and suffering damages are not necessarily easy to calculate. Numerous factors can influence your compensation, including:

  • Your pain levels and the severity of the injuries;
  • The expected recovery period;
  • How your injuries impacted your daily activities, job, hobbies, etc.;
  • How often you need medical treatment; and
  • Your ongoing and future care.

Your attorney will work with you to prove that you deserve the maximum compensation possible for your pain and suffering.

Recovery Options

Although workers’ compensation doesn’t usually cover pain and suffering, there may be some recovery options. Are you a federal employee that may have other options outside of Minnesota workers’ compensation benefits? For example, an injured railroad worker could file a claim under FELA, the Federal Employee Liability Act.

Another option, as discussed above, is a third-party lawsuit against another party who shared some responsibility for your injuries. For example, if you work construction, you might have a claim against a contractor or manufacturer.

Depending on the circumstances of your workplace accident, there may be additional recovery options. Your attorney can go over all the potential ways you might recover compensation for pain and suffering. 

When to Contact a Lawyer

If you believe you have a valid personal injury lawsuit in addition to your workers’ compensation claim, you should meet with a skilled St. Paul workers’ compensation attorney. Contact Arechigo & Stokka today to schedule an initial consultation. We have years of experience handling personal injury claims and can help you fight for the maximum compensation for your pain and suffering.  

Author Photo

Joshua R. Stokka

Josh has been representing injured workers for over 10 years. After his first job during law school working for a workers’ compensation attorney, he decided that workers’ compensation is what he eventually wanted to do after law school. Prior to practicing in the area of workers’ compensation, Josh clerked for a judge in the 7th Judicial District in Minnesota. This valuable experience gave him insight into how judges think, do their jobs behind the scene, and how to frame a case in order to obtain a favorable result.  Now, he focuses 100% of his practice to defending injured workers’ in Minnesota.

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