As we well know, when you suffer an injury on the job, physical pain is often only part of the equation. You face a great deal of stress, worrying about making ends meet, coping with lost wages, paying medical bills. You’re anxious about when you’re going to be able to get back to work at full capacity. You may be fearful or distressed as a result of your injury. Worker’s compensation in Florida is designed to provide financial help after an injury; but can you get pain and suffering damages too?
Workers Compensation in Florida: Is Pain and Suffering Covered?
Florida worker’s compensation covers medical costs (e.g. procedures, medicine, physical therapy, vocational rehab, etc.), loss of wages, and disability. A very positive aspect of workers comp is that you do not have to prove liability, and even if the injury was in some part your “fault,” you can still receive benefits (unless illegal or banned drugs were involved). The theory is that you would not have been injured if you were not on the job.
Under worker’s comp laws, emotional distress and pain and suffering are not covered.
This coverage is designed to be your “exclusive remedy.” That is, it is the only source of compensation you can receive. Does this mean you cannot seek any remedy for your emotional/mental pain and suffering?
In general, yes. Again, pain and suffering are not covered. And when you take worker’s compensation, you cannot sue your employer. However, you may be able to take civil action if your injury was the result of an “intentional” act on the part of your employer. For example, if your boss hits you and you fall and hit your head, this is an intentional act. You can sue.
The benefit of filing a lawsuit here is that you can recoup medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering damages. In many cases, the amount of compensation you receive via a lawsuit is much greater than that offered by workers’ compensation.
How Do You Prove Pain and Suffering?
Making the case for financial damages is relatively easy: you have medical bills, you have paychecks (or lack thereof), you have receipts for prescriptions, and you have proof of other expenses you have incurred because of your injury.
But how much is your pain and suffering worth? It is very difficult to calculate and put a dollar amount on this. Some factors that can play a role include:
- The severity of your injury or injuries
- The pain associated with this type of injury
- The impact that your injury has caused on your ability to work, engage in hobbies, enjoy life, interact socially, etc.
- The number or frequency of medical treatments you need.
- The discomfort associated with necessary medical treatments.
- The expected recovery period.
- The likelihood of future pain and/or ongoing care (therapy, surgeries, medications, etc.).
It is important to consult with an experienced personal injury attorney from the start. Your lawyer will help you connect your physical condition to your pain and suffering, making a compelling case for damages. They will ensure you have the proper documentation and that your medical professionals also assess and note any emotional/mental/psychological distress associated with your injury.
Suffering an injury at work is difficult enough; when the pain is more than physical, and when you have the option of using your employee, you may receive critical pain and suffering damages to help you cope with your recovery.
You are not alone. The LaBovick Law Group is here to fight for your rights. Contact us today!