Can I Recover for Pain and Suffering?
Many workers' compensation claimants want to know if they can recover for pain and suffering over and above lost income. The answer is, "Not from your employer-but maybe someone else."
When you are hurt on the job and unable to work, the amount you are entitled to recover from your employer is determined by your lost earnings-not how painful your injury may be. Instead, you compare your pre-injury wages with your post-injury wages, if any, then calculate benefits based on workers' compensation formulas and maximums. This determines the amount of Temporary Total Disability benefits ("TTD") and/or Temporary Partial Disability benefits ("TPD") you receive. See O.C.G. A. 34-9-261 and 34-9-262, respectively.
Pain may factor into your Permanent Partial Disability benefit ("PPD") if your doctor chooses to consider pain when calculating your permanent impairment rating. Once rated, the formula provided in O.C.G.A. 34-9-263 determines the amount you receive.
Traditional civil cases, on the other hand, permit recovery of general damages in the form of pain and suffering in an amount to be determined by the enlightened conscience of a fair and impartial fact finder, usually a jury. If you were hurt on the job and your injury was caused by a third party other than your employer, you may have a civil claim and a right to recover pain and suffering from the negligent third party. You may be able to pursue this claim in addition to your workers' compensation claim.
If you wish to pursue either a worker's compensation claim or a third party negligence action, contact an experienced lawyer at Burnside Law Firm LLP for a free initial consultation to learn more about your legal rights.
Disclaimer: Every worker's compensation case has its own unique facts and circumstances. The information above is a general description of the issues presented and should not be relied upon as legal advice in your case. For specific legal advice, contact one of the lawyers at Burnside Law Firm LLP.
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