Does Workers’ Compensation Cover Pain and Suffering in Florida?
A work-related injury or illness can be a major financial undertaking. Not only do you need to pay for a costly medical treatment following an on-the-job injury, but you may also have to miss some time from work. In addition, you may also have to deal with pain and suffering, emotional distress, as well as mental anguish associated with your workplace injury.
While you may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits, it may seem that these benefits will cover everything, from your medical bills and lost wages to pain and suffering. Unfortunately, this is not the case.
What Do Workers’ Compensation Benefits Cover?
In Florida, workers’ compensation benefits cover only the following three categories of damages:
- Injury- or illness-related medical expenses;
- Lost wages; and
- Death-related expenses.
Your employer’s workers’ comp insurance will cover all injury- or illness-related medical expenses if your injury or illness is associated with your job. Covered medical expenses include:
- Prescription medications;
- Doctor’s visits;
- Medical examination and tests;
- Physical therapy;
- Rehabilitation; and
- Other medical bills.
When you reach maximum medical improvement (MMI), you will be required to pay a $10 copayment per visit for medical treatment.
If your work-related injury or illness rendered you unable to work either temporarily or permanently, your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance would cover your lost wages.
Lost wages benefits are broken down into four categories:
- Temporary partial disability
- Temporary total disability
- Permanent total disability
- Impairment income benefits
In Florida, workers’ compensation benefits cover only two-thirds (66%) of your pre-injury average weekly wage and cannot exceed $971, the maximum compensation rate in 2020.
If a worker died due to a work-related injury or illness, the workers’ compensation insurance would provide death-related benefits to their surviving family members. In Florida, family members are entitled to up to $150,000 in death benefits, which can be used for funeral and burial expenses, loss of financial support, and other losses.
Do Workers’ Comp Benefits Cover Pain and Suffering?
In Florida, workers who sustain an on-the-job injury or develop an occupational disease are not entitled to benefits for a worker’s pain and suffering through the workers’ comp system. However, in some cases, injured workers can pursue a personal injury claim to recover pain and suffering damages.
While the workers’ compensation insurance prohibits you from filing a personal injury claim against your employer, you may be able to pursue a claim against a third party. If negligence on the part of a third party contributed or caused your work-related injury or illness, you might be able to seek pain and suffering damages through a personal injury claim.
For instance, if your workplace injury was the result of faulty machinery, you may be able to sue the manufacturer of the defective machinery to seek compensation not only for pain and suffering but also for lost wages and medical bills.
Contact our experienced Tampa workers’ compensation attorneys to review your unique case and determine whether you are entitled to benefits for pain and suffering via a personal injury claim. Reach out to Kobal Law for a case evaluation. Call at 813-873-2440 for a consultation.