Can Injured Workers Recover Damages for Pain and Suffering?

In the event of a workplace accident, victims do not have to prove that the company or another employee was at fault. Even if the injured worker was ultimately responsible for the accident, he or she is still entitled to workers’ compensation. The only requirement to qualify for workers’ compensation is that the injury occurred “while in the course of performing work-related duties.” In personal injury law, victims are entitled to compensation for personal and financial damages, including pain and suffering. One of the trade-offs in workers’ compensation law, is that victims are not entitled to direct payments for pain and suffering.


While you have likely heard about plaintiffs taking defendants to court in personal injury litigation, workers’ compensation claims do not usually involve a dispute of facts. In most cases, a worker will file a claim after injury, and collect compensation for medical expenses and lost wages. Though injured workers are not able to collect for pain and suffering, they do benefit from the quicker turnaround of the workers’ compensation system.

Any worker who has suffered an injury and family members of a victim should understand the difference between workers’ compensation and personal injury law. It is important to remember that workers’ compensation claims are not governed by the same court system and are not handled based on personal injury laws. Where you may go to court in North or South Carolina for personal injury claim, workers’ compensation claims are governed by the North Carolina Industrial Commission or the South Carolina Industrial Commission. Our Raleigh workers’ compensation attorneys are experienced in helping victims and their loved ones maximize recovery.

In the event of a dispute over your claim, the case will be heard by a deputy commissioner, rather than a jury or judge. One benefit to this process is that victims and their families do not have to wait until a claim is resolved to get paid. Victims will continue to collect wages and receive medical treatment, though they may receive fewer benefits in the workers’ compensation system than if a claim is filed for personal injury.

Some work-related injuries may entitle victims to compensation through “third-party” claims. While you cannot sue your employer, you can take legal action against other liable individuals or entities, including manufacturers, property owners, or contractors. Individuals who have suffered an on-the-job injury should consult with an experienced advocate who can identify potential claims and pursue maximum recover for the full extent of your personal and financial losses. An additional third-party claim will require a thorough investigation to determine the cause of the accident and identify those at fault. If you were injured in a heavy machinery accident, you may be able to bring a claim against a manufacturer. Similarly, property-hazards could leave an owner liable for injuries.

Workplace accidents can result in significant suffering and losses. However, workers’ are generally not entitled to pain and suffering. An experienced advocate can review your case, identify the best legal course of action, and pursue maximum compensation on your behalf.

If you have been injured at work in Raleigh, contact the Lee Law Offices at 800-887-1965.

More Blog Entries:
Adamson v. Municipality of Anchorage and Novapro Risk Solutions: Work-Related Cancer and Firefighters, Sept. 17, 2014, Spartanburg Workers’ Compensation Lawyer Blog

Plane Bound for Asheville, North Carolina Suddenly Dives, Injuring Workers and Passengers, Aug. 17, 2014, Rock Hill Workers’ Compensation Lawyer Blog

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