As a general rule, workers who are injured in on the job accidents are usually unable to make claims for pain and suffering via workers’ compensation. Rather, pain and suffering damage claims can be made by filing tort or negligence claims against non-employer parties. So called “third party” liability lawsuits are often filed against multiple entities, including:
- property owners,
- property maintenance companies,
- subcontractors, and
- outside vendors.
Related: Compensation for Accidents at Work, Injured at Work in Pennsylvania?
Proving Pain & Suffering in a Work Accident Case
Like with other types of damages, such as medical bills and lost wages, pain and suffering damages must be pled and proved. Proof of pain and suffering often depends on the specific factors of the case, and that is because pain and suffering is unique to the individual. Two workers might sustain the same injury, but how the injury affects each worker can vary tremendously.
Related: Pennsylvania Work Accidents – Can You Recover Pain & Suffering Damages?
For instance, two workers suffer the same injury, a fractured knee which results in permanent pain symptoms. One worker is a construction worker, and the other is an office worker. For the construction worker, the knee injury affects the ability to work. The worker is often required to lift items over 50 pounds and is often required to walk over rough terrain. The knee injury causes significant pain because the worker is unable to take frequent breaks to rest the knee. On the other hand, for the office worker who sits at a desk the majority of the day, the knee does not cause as much pain. Clearly, the pain and suffering is entirely different for these two individuals.
Evidence of Pain & Suffering
Evidence of pain and suffering in a work accident case often includes:
- testimony of the injured worker,
- testimony of the spouse or other loved ones,
- testimony of friends, and
- testimony of co-workers.
Pictures taken during the healing process can illustrate the extent of pain and suffering. For instance, pictures of broken/fractured bones, lacerations, stitches, etc., can highlight real physical pain. In addition, while the testimony of the injured worker will usually be the primary source of evidence, testimony of others is often helpful. A co-worker may be able to present a before and after picture; how the injured worker was before the accident and after the accident, or a neighbor may be able to offer testimony that the injured worker stopped doing yard work after the accident. These details can absolutely drive home the extent to which an injury affected the plaintiff in a work accident case.
More: Pennsylvania Work Accidents & Injury Statistics
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