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

UPDATED: Jan 18, 2015

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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


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

Answered 8 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.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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