It would be nice to receive pain and suffering compensation when you are injured at work. Unfortunately, pain and suffering is not part of any workers’ compensation claim.
The creation of workers’ compensation was meant to serve as a “grand bargain” between employers and employees. The idea is that employers would cover certain types of expenses for an injured employee without question, but in return, employees would lose the right to sue employers for negligence.
The ability to sue a person for negligence leads to pain and suffering compensation, also known as a personal injury lawsuit.
What Workers’ Compensation Covers
Under workers’ compensation, your medical bills are covered for any visit relating specifically to your work-related injury. If you are temporarily or even permanently disabled, workers’ compensation replaces a portion of your lost wages, though it does not replace all of them.
This is not to say there aren’t some cases wherein injured workers could, theoretically, obtain pain and suffering compensation.
If a third party was involved in your injury and that third party was not your employer, you could receive workers’ compensation and sue that third party. The third party would then be required to pay the portion of your lost wages not already covered by workers’ compensation and for pain and suffering damages.
Can you sue the workers’ compensation insurance company for delaying medical treatment payment or authorization?
The third-party lawsuit exemption does not include the insurance carrier.
For example, in the 2012 case Stancil v. ACE USA, the New Jersey Supreme Court held that an injured employee does not have a common-law right to sue a workers’ compensation insurance carrier for pain and suffering caused by the carrier’s delay in
paying for or authorizing medical treatment, prescriptions, and other services.
One could imagine that the courts would hold that no such remedy exists in any other type of employer or insurer non-compliance cases as well.
Fortunately, other noncompliance remedies do exist. If this is your situation, you should contact our office to schedule a case review as soon as possible. We can help you obtain your benefits and end delays.
Get Help Today
The third-party lawsuit exception is just one of the ways that a workers’ compensation lawsuit can get extremely complex quite quickly. The third-party won’t want to pay their share, and your employer might be unhappy that you’re suing the third party because of a shared relationship with them. This might cause them to start playing games with your workers’ compensation settlement.
You will need a workers’ compensation lawyer involved whenever you think a personal injury suit may also impact your case.
If you have any problems with your case, contact our office to schedule a free consultation. We will gladly help you resolve your most challenging workers’ compensation issues.