Does the Workers’ Compensation System Award Benefits For Pain and Suffering?


Posted by: Chris

Many people experience mental and physical pain and suffering after a work-related injury. For example, a work-related back injury could lead to both physical discomfort and emotional distress if it prevents you from participating in your favorite activities. There’s no question that pain and suffering can negatively impact your life, so you may assume that you should be compensated for it. But, does the workers’ compensation system award benefits for pain and suffering? Here’s what you should know: 

Types of Workers’ Compensation Benefits

There are several types of workers’ compensation benefits, including:

  • Medical Benefits
  • Temporary Disability Benefits
  • Permanent Disability Benefits
  • Vocational Retraining Benefits
  • Death Benefits

Medical benefits cover medical expenses that were incurred as a result of a work-related injury, whereas temporary and permanent disability benefits cover the victim’s lost wages. If a victim is unable to return to his pre-injury job, vocational retraining benefits can help him learn new skills and find other employment. Death benefits are awarded when a victim suffers a fatal work-related injury.  

As you can see, the workers’ compensation system does compensate employees for their injury-related losses and expenses. However, the system does not compensate employees for pain and suffering related to their injuries.

Workers’ Compensation For Mental Injuries and Illnesses

Sometimes, injury-related pain and suffering can become so severe that it is considered a mental illness. For example, a worker may develop depression after suffering traumatizing work-related injuries. In this case, the victim’s mental illness could be considered a compensable injury.

The law states that a mental illness is a compensable injury if it meets these conditions:

  • The mental illness was caused by a physical work-related injury or an act of workplace violence.
  • There is a preponderance of evidence that proves the link between the mental illness and physical injury or violent act.
  • The mental illness has been diagnosed by a licensed psychiatrist or psychologist and the diagnosis fulfills the requirements outlined in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.

If your work-related mental illness meets these conditions, it is a compensable injury. This means you could receive up to 26 weeks of workers’ compensation benefits for emotional pain-and-suffering that became a diagnosable mental illness.

Has your mental health been affected by a workplace injury? If so, seek legal representation from the attorneys at Armstrong & Vaught, P.L.C. right away. Our attorneys have the legal resources and experience you need to successfully win benefits for your work-related mental illness. Call us now at 918-582-2500, toll free at (800) 722-8880, or contact us online for a free consultation with a skilled attorney.