Injuries are painful. A workers compensation injury can cause you pain for week or months. Some serious injuries cause pain that lasts for years.
In Georgia, workers compensation covers you when you suffer an injury doing your job. But, does it cover all of the harm that you incur as a result of that injury?
Georgia workers compensation law does not pay you for pain and suffering
Georgia workers compensation is a “limited benefit system”. That means that it does not pay for every harm that you suffer as a result of your injury.
One of the benefits Georgia workers compensation does not pay is pain and suffering. Everyone agrees that injuries cause pain. But, Georgia’s workers compensation law does not allow you to recover money for that pain.
Many of my clients experience severe pain because of their injuries. It is frustrating to tell them that they cannot get compensated by workers compensation for what they go through.
I wish I could force the workers’ compensation insurance company to pay my clients for the pain they experience. Unfortunately, workers’ compensation does not force insurance companies to do this. You may even run across an attorney who will promise you they will get you paid for pain and suffering in a workers’ compensation case. That is an empty promise because the law does not allow them to do that.
Is there any way that I can recover for pain and suffering when I get hurt at work?
It depends. In order to recover for pain and suffering caused by an injury at work, you would need to be able to pursue a personal injury case. Unfortunately, a part of Georgia’s workers compensation law called the “exclusive remedy” often prevents you from pursuing a personal injury case against your employer or a co-employee.
But, you can sometimes pursue a personal injury case against someone else. A classic example is when you are driving on the job and are struck by another vehicle. In this situation, you have a workers compensation case because you were injured on the job. You may also have a personal injury case against the driver of the other vehicle.
In a personal injury case, you can get paid for pain and suffering. So, it can be important to ask an attorney whether you may have a personal injury case in addition to your workers compensation case.
If workers compensation does not pay for pain and suffering, does it pay anything similar?
The closest that workers’ compensation gets to paying for pain and suffering is something called permanent partial disability benefits. These benefits are usually referred to as PPD benefits.
Permanent partial disability benefits are not paid to you because of the pain that you currently experience or have experienced. You receive permanent partial disability benefits because the doctor has indicated that you have a permanent impairment as a result of your injury.
In addition to permanent partial disability benefits, Georgia workers compensation pays two other primary benefits. The first is wage loss benefits which are divided into two types, temporary total disability and temporary partial disability. The second primary benefit is your medical benefits which basically covers the medical treatment you need as a result of your injury with certain doctors.
What can I do to protect myself?
Is it fair that people are not paid for the pain that they experience when they are injured at work? Probably not. Unfortunately, there are many things that may not seem fair about the workers’ compensation system in Georgia.
When you are accidentally injured at work, you have a workers compensation claim and have to deal with those laws. You do not get to choose whether you have a workers’ compensation claim or not. The best thing you can do is to protect your rights in that workers’ compensation claim.
So, what can you do about it? It is best to make sure you have a good understanding of Georgia’s workers compensation laws. It is also important to consider hiring a good workers compensation attorney to help you with your case. While hiring a good attorney will not get you pain and suffering in a workers’ compensation case, a good attorney can help assure you get all the benefits to which you are entitled while you recover from your injury.