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June 20th, 2016

Can I sue workers’ comp for pain and suffering in Pennsylvania?

Those injured in work accidents in Pennsylvania often ask whether they can sue workers’ comp for pain and suffering. The answer is no.

Pennsylvania workers’ compensation laws do not allow injured workers to make workers’ compensation claims for pain and suffering. The system is designed to get injured workers back to work as soon as possible. Therefore, injured workers don’t receive full compensation for anything, least of all for pain and suffering.

More: PA Workers’ Compensation Law Update (Nov. 2015)

Pain & Suffering – How Injured Workers in PA Can Get Compensated

Injured workers can obtain financial compensation for pain and suffering by filing non-workers’ compensation claims. This is in addition to, or on top of, any workers’ compensation claims. These claims are known as third party claims because they are filed against non-employer third parties. A worker injured in an accident caused by another party can seek financial compensation from that party and recover for pain and suffering. Here is an example which explains how this would work. A Pennsylvania worker falls at a worksite due to the negligence of a subcontractor. The worker can bring a claim/lawsuit directly against the subcontractor for financial losses and pain and suffering.

Medical Benefits & Wage Loss Payments – PA Workers’ Compensation Benefits

They only thing that’s truly covered, or 100% covered, is medical treatment. Injured workers who make workers’ compensation claims in PA don’t pay anything for medical treatment, so long as it’s covered or authorized. One thing most injured workers don’t know is that they are allowed to seek treatment from doctors of their own choosing after 90 days from the date of the accident. In other words, injured workers in PA must see doctors approved by the employer, but this is only true for the first 90 days of medical treatment. After 90 days, injured workers are allowed to see their own doctors, so long as 5 days notice is provided.

With respect to indemnity (wage loss) payments, these are paid at a percentage, usually about 2/3 of the worker’s average weekly wage. This often imposes serious financial strain. Hence, the impetus to get back to work. Allowing injured workers to seek payment for pain and suffering would only encourage Pennsylvania workers to make workers’ compensation claims and stay out on comp as long as possible.

Special Payments via Workers’ Comp – Not Pain & Suffering

In some instances, special payments are made for things like the loss of a body part or the loss of use of an eye. Death payments are also made in fatal work injury cases. However, these payments aren’t considered pain and suffering. Rather, these are payments specifically authorized by workers’ compensation laws and are usually based on a payment schedule. In the majority of work injury cases, these types of payments will not come into play.

Injured at Work in Pennsylvania? Call Our Lawyers

If you were injured while on the job in Pennsylvania, contact our work injury lawyers for a free case review. Find out if you are entitled to compensation for your pain and suffering. (866) 641-0806

DISCLAIMER: This website does not create any attorney-client relationship or provide legal advice. It is crucial to speak to a qualified lawyer prior to making any decision about your case. Read full disclaimer at the bottom of this page.