Pain and suffering often comes up in personal injury cases. From a legal perspective, it refers to the physical and mental pain an individual experiences after an injury that attorneys attempt to quantify. When one North Carolina motorist suffered injuries in a motor vehicle accident, she attempted to gain compensation for pain and suffering in addition to other expenses.
When a workplace injury occurs, the employee will need to file a workers' compensation claim to receive payment for various expenses. Workers often wonder if pain and suffering is part of that compensation package, but the truth of the matter is that it is usually separate.
Most people cannot file for pain and suffering
After a workplace injury, a workers' comp claim helps cover any medical expenses and time lost from work due to the injury. The employer, or most often the employer's insurance, will pay for this, and it does not include expenses for pain and suffering. Most of the time, a person can only receive that compensation through a lawsuit, which is generally impossible after filing a workers' comp claim.
It is possible for an employee to receive compensation for pain and suffering if a third party held some negligence for the injury. For instance, the employee cannot file a personal injury lawsuit against the employer. However, the employee would be able to file a lawsuit against someone else who played a role in the injury. As an example, if faulty equipment played a role in the injury, then the employee could conceivably file a lawsuit against the equipment's manufacturer if there is a belief that there was a structural issue with the product.
Determining the value of pain and suffering is tricky. Although there are some guidelines, most of the time, a jury simply has to use their best judgment. A few factors that usually come into play include whether the testimony is consistent and whether the diagnosis makes sense to the jury.