By GNGF Design/Development on November 7th, 2023 in
Compensation for pain and suffering in workers’ comp is often a significant component of the monetary award for the injured party in personal injury lawsuits. But workers’ compensation is a distinct legal framework with its own set of rules and limitations. Here’s what you should know about pain and suffering in Illinois workers’ compensation claims.
What Is Pain and Suffering?
“Pain and suffering” are the physical pain and emotional distress resulting from an injury or illness. Physical pain can include bodily aches, discomfort, and loss of physical function resulting from injuries and other health conditions. Emotional suffering encompasses the negative emotions and experiences related to an injury, such as depression, anxiety, sadness, sleep loss, grief, and fear.
Pain and suffering significantly reduces the quality of life and the capacity to engage in normal daily activities. While difficult to quantify, pain and suffering awards in personal injury cases aim to provide monetary compensation for these hardships.
Work Injuries That Cause Pain and Suffering
Workers in any occupation or industry can sustain on-the-job injuries or illnesses that lead to significant pain and suffering. Common examples include the following:
- Spinal cord injuries
- Broken bones
- Back injuries
- Joint and muscle injuries
- Respiratory diseases
- Fall injuries
- Head trauma
- Workplace violence injuries
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Neck and spine injuries
- Hearing loss
- Vision loss
Can I Get Workers’ Comp Benefits for Pain and Suffering in Illinois?
No. Pain and suffering compensation is not available under Illinois’ workers’ comp system. Workers’ compensation only covers certain losses, like medical treatment expenses and a portion of lost wages resulting from your work injury. It does not specifically pay for pain and suffering. However, if the pain associated with an injury restricts the use of a body part (think the movement of a leg after it is fractured and undergoes surgery), limitations of that body part can be included as an arbitrator’s award through something called “permanent partial disability.” Partial refers to the fact that you are not disabled, but permanent refers to the fact that you have sustained a partial loss of function to a portion of a body’s functionality, that is permanent. For example, no longer being able to kneel for long periods after surgery of the knee.
Awards for pain and suffering are available in personal injury lawsuits. But workers largely give up the right to file injury lawsuits against their employers in exchange for workers’ comp benefits. This is because workers’ comp is designed as an “exclusive remedy” for injured workers.
As the exclusive remedy for occupational injuries, workers’ comp provides workers with swift coverage for medical costs and lost income without requiring proof of employer negligence. In return, employers receive protection against lawsuits for non-economic damages like pain and suffering.
Are There Other Ways I Can Seek Compensation for Pain and Suffering?
Yes. Limited exceptions exist to the “exclusive remedy” rule. For example, you could have grounds for a personal injury lawsuit against a third party (someone besides your employer or a co-worker) if that third party hurt you. In that case, you could seek compensation for pain and suffering.
But these cases are rare. If you know or suspect you have a work injury lawsuit against your employer or a third party in Illinois, consult a trusted lawyer to explore your legal options.
Contact a Workers’ Compensation Lawyer in Illinois
Still, have questions about workers’ compensation in Illinois? Don’t let uncertainty hinder your claim. Help is available. Contact The Noll Law Office for a free consultation. Let their Illinois workers’ compensation lawyers address your concerns and provide the professional guidance you deserve. Call them at 217-414-8889 today.