If you are a worker in California who has been injured on the job, the state's workers' compensation system gives you a way to secure monetary benefits that will help cover your medical bills and lost income. In order to receive workers' compensation benefits, injured workers don't have to prove fault or liability. The workers' comp system provides these benefits regardless of who was at fault for the incident that caused the worker's injury.
However, it is important to note that there are losses that workers' comp benefits will and will not cover. So, if you have suffered a work-related injury, it would be in your best interest to contact an experienced Los Angeles work injury lawyer who can analyze your situation and help you secure maximum compensation for your losses.
What Does Workers' Comp Cover?
All employers in California without exception are required to carry workers' compensation insurance. This is insurance that protects not just employees, but also employers. It provides injured workers with financial help and it shields employers from liability for workplace accidents that result in injuries. Here are some of the benefits that workers' comp insurance will cover:
Medical expenses: Under California law, workers must receive full payment for all medical bills relating to their work-related injury. Such expenses may include anything from doctor's office visits, diagnostic tests and cost of medications to surgeries, medical devices and rehabilitative treatment and therapy.
Disabilities: Whether you've suffered a temporary or permanent disability as a result of your job-related injury, workers' compensation will provide you payments for lost income. In addition, it will also cover cost of vocational training if you are unable to perform the job you were doing prior to your accident because of your injuries.
Death benefits: If you have lost a loved one in a workplace accident, you may also be eligible to receive death benefits from the employer's workers' comp insurance company. Compensation may include lost income and reimbursement for funeral and burial costs.
Does Workers' Comp Cover Pain and Suffering?
Workers compensation, unfortunately, does not compensate injured victims for pain ands suffering. In an injury case, the term "pain and suffering" refers to the physical pain and discomfort endured by accident victims. It also includes all of the emotional suffering victims experience as a result of the injuries such as sadness, anger and frustration. Anything that has caused you to not enjoy life the way you did prior to the accident can qualify as pain and suffering. This may be something as simple as mowing your yard, playing with your kids in the park or riding your bike.
While pain and suffering is part of the damages a plaintiff might be able to get in a personal injury lawsuit, workers' compensation doesn't cover it. This is likely because the workers' compensation system is geared toward simplifying the process of resolving workplace injury claims. This has its pros and cons. While employees may have a relatively easier time getting the benefits they need for medical expenses and lost income without having to prove fault or liability, the compensation they receive is limited.
A workers' comp claim will sadly not take into consideration quality-of-life issues such as not being able to do the things you love to do as a result of the work-related injury. However, if you've developed a mental disorder such as depression or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as a result of your accident and injuries, those would be considered compensable under workers' comp. So, if you are suffering from depression or anxiety, you may be able to seek compensation for treating those conditions as part of your workers' comp claim.
Third-Party Personal Injury Lawsuits
But, workers also have other options to seek compensation for pain and suffering besides workers' comp. In some cases, injured workers may be able to file a personal injury lawsuit against an individual or entity other than their employer (a third party) who caused the work-related accident and injuries.
For example, if you were bitten by a dog when you were making a delivery as part of your job, you may be able to sue the dog's owner in addition to claiming workers' comp benefits. If a defective product left you injured, you can file a third party liability lawsuit against the manufacturer of the faulty product as well. In these types of lawsuits, where plaintiffs must prove negligence on the part of the defendant, you can seek compensation for pain and suffering.
So, a personal injury lawsuit against a negligent party could help you secure compensation for items that are not typically covered by workers' comp such as lost earning capacity and non-economic damages such as pain and suffering. You can pursue workers' comp benefits and file a third party claim at the same time.
Compiling Evidence to Strengthen Your Case
In order to obtain a work injury settlement that covers pain and suffering that is not included in a workers' compensation claim, it is important for you to compile evidence, which demonstrates the defendant's negligence that resulted in the accident. Some of the important pieces of evidence you may need include accident reports from the date of the accident; paperwork or memos showing negligence or dangerous conditions in the workplace; and medical records showing the severity of your injuries and the treatment you sought.
If you are worried that your workers' compensation benefits are simply not enough to cover your tremendous losses, it is important that you contact an experienced Los Angeles work injury lawyer who will fight for justice on your behalf and help ensure that you receive just compensation for all your losses, including your pain and suffering. Our work injury lawyers will help you put a value on your personal injury claim and also help figure out if you are entitled to more compensation.
We will help you maximize your compensation and achieve the best possible outcome in your case. We also work on a contingency fee basis, which means you don't pay any fees until we win compensation for you. Call us to find out how we can help you.