What about all the pain and suffering associated with a work injury?
When a worker gets injured on a job and is no longer able to enjoy his or her life because of too much pain or the doctor says it is no longer advisable to engage in activities that the person loved to do, the situation can get pretty frustrating. If, on top of that, the insurer starts delaying payments or denying doctor visits, or not approving treatment that is recommended, it is easy to become overwhelmed and feel that there should be some compensation for all the pain and suffering you have to go through just because you got hurt on the job. A lot of times your pain and suffering is so bad, a person is even willing to file a law suit. But is it something that can actually be done in Minnesota? Unfortunately, the short answer is no. The Minnesota workers’ compensation does not pay for pain and suffering, and this is why.
Why Pain and Suffering Is Not Included in Workers’ Compensation
Minnesota legislation is responsible for creating the workers’ compensation system in Minnesota. It was designed as a means of protection for both employees and employers. Under the statute, nearly all employers who conduct business in the state are required to have worker’s compensation insurance. Click here to check if your employer is insured. This insurance makes sure that, if an employee gets hurt at work, the employer can continue operating its business without fear of getting sued for large sums of money. At the same time, work comp insurance pays the injured employee’s medical bills, lost wages, vocational training, if they cannot return to their job, and for any permanent disability they may have to endure. The injured worker does not get paid for pain and suffering, but he or she also does not have to worry about proving that it was the employer’s fault that they got hurt or that their medical treatment and wage loss would be covered.
Payment for pain and suffering is more common in personal injury lawsuits, which are different from workers’ compensation. For example, if you get hit by a car, you can file a personal injury suit against the driver to pay for your medical bills. In that lawsuit, you can also ask for pain and suffering compensation, but you would be expected to be able to prove that you were not at fault for that accident, or at least were less negligent that the offending party. In workers’ compensation, there is no need to prove that you were not negligent or that you had not assumed the risks of your job, but there is also no way to get compensated for pain and suffering. It could be viewed as a way to reduce the number of accidents at work.
Can You File a Personal Injury Suit Instead of Work Comp Claim?
With some exceptions, the general answer is no. As mentioned above, worker’s compensation protects the interests of both employees and employers. If they have the insurance, you are barred from personal injury lawsuits against them. However, if you are injured by a third party while working, you will be able to file a personal injury lawsuit against that third party in addition to getting workers’ compensation from your employer. For example, if you were at a construction site and a some driver jumped the curb and injured you with their car, you can file for workers’ compensation because you were hurt at work, and also file a personal injury claim against that driver for their negligence. In this scenario, you very well may come out better financially, but that should not be your overall goal. One of the goals the workers’ compensation system has is to make sure that if a worker gets hurt in an accident while on the job, they are not forced into poverty because they have to pay their own medical bills or are unable to work. The system isn’t perfect, but it is better than the system that came before where workers were not protected at all.
Most workers never get injured and have to deal with worker’s compensation. When they do, depending on their circumstance, it can be very complex to navigate. If you need help making sure the claim you will be relying on is approved, contact us today. The Farrish Johnson Law Firm is dedicated to taking care of injured workers in southern Minnesota area so they can heal without worrying about how to pay their medical bills. We have offices in Mankato and Madelia, but can also meet you at a location that works for you. Give us a call at 507-625-2525.