If I’m on worker’s comp, am I also entitled to an award for pain and suffering?

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If I’m on worker’s comp, am I also entitled to an award for pain and suffering?

About 5 weeks ago, I was injured at work. An MRI revealed an acute torn medial meniscus in my left knee. The injury was approved by our workman’s compensation, so medical bill are being paid and I am getting paid 67% of my pay. Now, after weeks of living with a severe injury, surgery has just now been scheduled in 2 weeks, fully weeks after the accident. All this time I have been in moderate to severe pain with some days so bad I couldn’t walk and have to use crutches most of the time. I love my company and don’t want to get anyone mad, however I feel that I am entitled to compensation for pain and suffering. What would be the best way to go about this without taking them to court?

Asked on January 18, 2015 under Personal Injury, North Carolina

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

The general answer to your question is no, you can not be compensated for pain and suffering and you can not sue your employer if you are receiving worker's' compensation.  The whole idea behind comp is to allow you to collect pay and medical benefits in exchange for the right to sue.  There are some extremely limited circumstances when an injured worker can sue his employer.  First, when the employer intentionally harms the employee, a lawsuit is allowed.  Second, a lawsuit may be allowed when the employer engages in misconduct knowing with “substantial certainty” that it will result in serious injury or death.  Finally, an injured worker can bring a lawsuit against a coworker when his or her “willful, wanton, or reckless negligent conduct” caused the injury.  Again, lawsuits against employers and coworkers are extremely rare.  Speak with your lawyer.  Good luck.


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