How are the damages available from a third-party lawsuit different from Workers’ Compensation benefits?
Third Party Lawsuits vs. Workers Compensation Claims
When you are injured on-the-job in Pennsylvania or New Jersey, you become eligible for workers’ compensation. Your workers’ compensation benefits are provided through your employer’s insurance company. They include:
- Payment for lost wages: Workers’ compensation provides a percentage of your lost income if you are unable to work because of an injury.
- Medical care: Workers’ compensation will cover the cost of medical care, surgery, hospital treatment, medicine, and medical supplies related to your injury. You may choose your own healthcare provider.
- Death benefits: If a worker dies from an on-the-job injury, workers’ compensation will cover any medical expenses and burial expenses. The family may also receive a portion of the workers’ wages for a period of time.
Third party lawsuits also provide compensation for medical bills. But, the damages available for your injuries are more comprehensive than those available from workers’ compensation. They include:
- Payment of lost income: Workers’ compensation will cover about two-thirds of the income that you lost because of your injury. A third-party lawsuit allows you to seek compensation for all your lost wages and any future loss of income that could result from your injury.
- Pain and suffering: Damages for pain and suffering are intended to compensate you for any discomfort caused by your injury.
- Emotional distress: Any accident that causes serious injury is a traumatic event. Are you living with anxiety, depression, nervousness or sleep loss because of your workplace injury? You may seek compensation for the psychological impact of your accident. (Sometimes these damages are included in pain and suffering.)
- Loss of consortium: Loss of consortium refers to the impact that your injury has on your relationship with your spouse. This includes your ability to provide companionship and your ability to maintain a sexual relationship.
- Loss of enjoyment: Is your injury preventing you from enjoying your favorite hobbies and activities or time with your family? You may be eligible for compensation for “loss of enjoyment.”
- Punitive damages: Punitive damages are a monetary award that is designed to punish careless or reckless behavior. These damages are usually reserved for cases where the party responsible for an injury acted without regard for the safety of others.
- Property damage: Was your vehicle, clothing, cell phone or jewelry damaged in the accident? You may ask for reimbursement in your third-party claim.
If you have questions about the damages available for your workplace injury case, give us a call. Our attorneys will provide a case evaluation at no charge.