One of the most common questions workers who are injured in work accidents in Philadelphia have is whether they can be compensated for their pain and suffering. The answer is complex and depends on the facts of each case.
As a general rule, workers injured while on the job in Philadelphia are legally entitled to make two kinds of claims: 1. a workers’ compensation claim, and 2. a work accident injury lawsuit. While pain and suffering claims are not allowable under workers’ compensation law in PA, an injured worker can be compensated for pain and suffering in a work accident lawsuit.
These two types of claims are separate and distinct from each other. Injured workers in Pennsylvania, especially Philadelphia, often misunderstand their rights to file these two types of claims. Here’s a story that explains just how common the misunderstanding is. Each year our lawyers give safety talks to local unions. Last year, we talked to a local carpenters union about safety and workplace accident cases. Many in the crowd thought we were workers’ compensation lawyers; most were surprised to learn about legal rights independent of workers’ compensation claims. More: Jeff Laffey Gives Workplace Safety Talk at Norristown Carpenters Union Local 1595 Meeting
Workers’ Compensation Claims in Pennsylvania – Pain & Suffering Claims Not Allowed
Philadelphia area workers who are injured while on the job are usually entitled to make workers’ compensation claims. These claims cover medical treatment and something known as indemnity (lost wages). Indemnity payments under Pennsylvania’s workers’ compensation system do not provide 100% of an injured worker’s lost wages. Instead, payments are made according to a statutory schedule. Commonly, workers will only receive a percentage of their weekly wage, i.e., 2/3 of their weekly wages.
This is how the system is designed – to get workers back on their feet and back to work as soon as possible. That’s why compensation for pain and suffering is not allowed under Pennsylvania’s workers’ compensation system. If the system provided pain and suffering damages, this would be an incentive for workers to make work comp claims and stay out on comp for as long as possible.
Work Accident Lawsuits – Pain & Suffering Claims are Allowed
Under PA work accident injury law, injured workers are allowed to make claims for pain and suffering as well as financial losses (medical bills, out of pocket expenses, lost wages, etc.). In addition, injured workers can even make claims for future pain and suffering and future financial losses, provided there is sufficient proof. Compensation for pain and suffering in a Philadelphia work accident lawsuit depends on many factors, such as:
- the severity of the accident and resulting injuries,
- the nature and extent of the injuries (i.e., surgeries, rehab, etc.),
- how the injuries impacted the individual’s life, and
- how the injuries impacted the individual’s relationships with family members.
For more info or to speak to one of our work accident injury lawyers, please call our office at (866) 641-0806 (Philadelphia).
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