Are Pain & Suffering Damages Available in Workers’ Compensation Claims in PA
Workers who are injured in work accidents in Pennsylvania may be able to recover pain and suffering damages by filing a negligence lawsuit against a party whose negligence caused or contributed to the accident. However, in general, workers in PA are barred from bringing suit against employers. This is the main principle of workers’ compensation in PA; in exchange for workers’ compensation benefits, workers cannot sue their employers for work related accidents/injuries. There are however, some exceptions to this rule. For instance, an employee may be able to bring suit against an employer who engages in intentional conduct which results in an accident or injury. However, the burden of proof is very high in employee versus employer negligence cases, and mostly lies with the employee (injured worker).
Even though employers are generally immune from suit, others parties liable in a work accident case may include:
- contractors (outside companies),
- property owners, and
- property management companies.
In these so called “third party liability” cases, injured workers can make claims to recover pain and suffering damages, as well as medical bills and/or lost wages.
What is Pain and Suffering in a Work Accident Case?
Pain and suffering is really a legal term, and in work accident cases, injured workers can make claims to be compensated for the physical pain and mental anguish which result from an accident and injuries. Pain and suffering is unique to the individual; therefore, no two pain and suffering damage claims will be the same. Determining pain and suffering damages depends on two factors:
1. the nature and extent of the injuries, and
2. how the injuries affected the individual.
The Nature and Extent of the Injuries
As a general rule, the more serious the injuries, the more pain and suffering the individual experiences. For instance, a worker who suffers a back injury would have less pain and suffering than a worker who becomes paraplegic as a result of a work accident. In addition, pain and suffering damage compensation awards will depend on the extent of medical treatment. Someone who undergoes knee injections twice will have less medical treatment than someone who undergoes a complete knee replacement.
How the Injuries Affected the Individual
Pain and suffering damages are unique to the individual, and because no two people are the same, pain and suffering damage awards vary widely. A pain and suffering damage claim takes into account how injuries actually affect an individual. Therefore, life circumstances come into play when presenting a pain and suffering damage claim. For example, a single dad/construction worker with young children who suffers a permanent injury will probably have a more significant pain and suffering damage claim than a dad in a two parent household. The circumstances will naturally vary.
PA Work Accident & Injury Law Firm
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Work Accident Case Results:
- $101 million – The collapse of a parking garage at the Tropicana Casino in Atlantic City that injured over 30 construction workers on the job and killed 4 men working on the project (largest construction accident settlement in U.S. history).
- $13 million – The collapse of the Philadelphia Kimmel Center during its construction
Disclaimer: The lawyers at Laffey, Bucci & Kent provide legal advice to individuals after accepting their cases. No attorney-client relationship is created by this website. Nothing on this site is intended to provide legal advice. Because every case is unique, discussion of prior outcomes and settlements in past cases is no guarantee of a similar outcome in current or future cases.