Workers’ compensation is a pain, no doubt about it. The overwhelming majority of people who contact my office do so because they are incredibly frustrated with the system and don’t know where else to turn and many of these folks are upset to find out that in Virginia, there is no compensation for all the pain and inconvenience they have had to endure as a result of their workplace injury.
Workers’ compensation is a “no fault” system. In a perfect world, it would work like this:
1) injured on the job
2) immediate pay for lost wages and medical benefits
This is a compromise between employer and employee that is intended to lessen the time that it takes for injured workers to receive benefits and (hopefully) avoid a lengthy court process. The Compromise being that, instead of having to file a lawsuit, you can file a claim for Workers’ Compensation benefits. Workers compensation benefits do no include pay for “pain and suffering.”
Sadly, we all know this world, and this system, is far from perfect. Instead of having to battle it out in small claims court (by showing that their employer was negligent by way of a personal injury suit) injured workers must show the insurance companies and the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission, that their injury occurred during the course and scope of their employment (related to their job). Then, injured workers can receive a portion of their lost wages (2/3rds of their average weekly wage) and have their medical care paid for.
There are different types of benefits that injured workers’ may be entitled to as a result of a work injury, however, “pain and suffering” is NEVER one of them. If you have been injured on the job and are unsure of what you may or may not be entitled to recover, contact my office for further information.