People pursuing personal injury lawsuits often ask for pain and suffering damages caused by the injury, in addition to medical costs and lost wages. When you get injured, you may suffer both physical and mental pain. The trauma of an injury could follow you for years to come, which is why you can request pain and suffering damages in personal injury cases. Personal injury lawsuits and workers’ compensation cases both seek payment for injuries. However, workers’ compensation only covers injuries at work. You may wonder if you can receive pain and suffering damages for a work injury.
Minnesota workers’ compensation laws do not allow workers to recover pain and suffering damages. Workers’ compensation is a “no-fault” system, meaning no blame is placed on the employee or the employer for the injury. By paying for insurance, the employer avoids the expense of a personal injury lawsuit. The employee saves time and trouble too, and he or she still gets medical bills and lost wages covered.
The only exception to the general rule that you cannot get pain and suffering damages is if a third party not related to your employer caused a work injury. For example, you might be involved in an accident while driving a work vehicle between job sites. You could recover workers’ compensation, but you could also sue the driver in a personal injury lawsuit. Other situations in which you could sue a third party for work injuries include having an injury caused by a reckless coworker, an independent contractor, or a manufacturer of a defective product.
Keep in mind that a personal injury lawsuit and a workers’ compensation case are separate. If you choose to pursue a lawsuit against a third party, you could recover pain and suffering damages, as well as medical costs, sometime in the future. In the meantime, you can receive medical benefits and wage loss benefits through workers’ compensation. However, workers’ compensation benefits are not set up to provide a big lump sum payment (unless you are able to settle your case).
In a personal injury lawsuit, you must prove your case in court. You have to show that you did have pain and suffering to recover damages for it. Similarly, you may have to go to a workers’ compensation hearing if the insurance company disputes your entitlement to benefits. But again, you cannot recover any pain or suffering damages. You can only receive payment of your medical expenses and compensation for wage loss.
Need help getting workers’ compensation for your injury and have a personal injury claim? Joe Osterbauer, Esq. and the Osterbauer Law Firm stand up for injured Minnesota workers’ rights. Joe’s 27 years of workers’ compensation experience, his knowledge of personal injury law, and his team’s speedy service combine to get clients the results they need. To schedule a free consultation, visit Osterbauer Law Firm online or call Joe’s office at (612) 334-3434.