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Can You Obtain Pain and Suffering Damages for a Work Injury in Ohio?

Workers' Compensation

When you get injured on the job, your medical bills and lost earnings might not be the only costs you incur. Serious injuries can also lead to various “non-financial costs”—including pain and suffering.

Unfortunately, workers’ compensation does not cover pain and suffering in Ohio. But, this does not necessarily mean that you need to bear these non-financial costs on your own. In some cases, injured workers can file claims outside of workers’ comp; and when they can, they can seek full compensation for all of the costs of their on-the-job injuries.

Understanding What Constitutes “Pain and Suffering”

Before you put effort into finding out if you have a claim, it is first important to understand what constitutes “pain and suffering.” While you almost always hear “pain” and “suffering” discussed together, these are actually two different types of non-financial costs.

In legal terminology, “pain” refers to the physical discomfort caused by a traumatic injury. When your body hurts, you are in pain. In contrast, “suffering” is generally understood to refer to the psychological effects of living with pain on a day-to-day basis.

Many people who suffer serious on-the-job injuries experience pain and suffering. In some cases, these effects last for a couple of days. In others, they last for the rest of the worker’s life. When you have a claim outside of workers’ compensation, the severity and the duration of your pain and suffering are both key factors for determining how much you are entitled to recover.

Potential Ways to Recover Pain and Suffering Damages After a Work Injury

So, now we get to the key question: When can you recover pain and suffering damages after a work injury?

As we already mentioned, in Ohio it is not possible to obtain compensation for your pain and suffering through workers’ comp. When you have a claim for benefits, your benefits only cover your medical expenses and a portion of your lost wages (if you miss enough time from work). This means that in order to seek financial compensation for your pain and suffering, you must be able to file a claim outside of workers’ comp.

There are a variety of scenarios in which this might be the case. While not all injured workers have claims outside of workers’ compensation, many will. For example, you may be able to seek financial compensation for your pain and suffering outside of workers’ comp if:

  • You Were Injured in a Premises-Related Accident – Many employers lease their offices, warehouses and other buildings from other companies. If you were injured on leased premises, you could have a claim against the property owner. If you were injured on a jobsite that belongs to a homeowner or a company other than your employer, you could have a premises liability claim in this scenario as well.
  • You Were Injured in a Vehicle Collision – If you were injured in a vehicle collision, you can file a claim just as you could if the accident was not work-related. This means that if a negligent driver or other party caused the accident, you can seek full compensation for all of your accident-related losses.
  • You Were Injured By a Subcontractor or an Employee of Another Company – While employees generally cannot sue their employers for full compensation after a work injury, they can sue other companies. For example, if you were injured in an accident on a construction site caused by a negligent subcontractor, you may be able to sue the subcontractor to secure full compensation.
  • You Were Injured By a Defective Tool, Piece of Equipment or Piece of Furniture – Injured workers can also seek full compensation for work injuries caused by product defects. If you were injured by a defective tool, piece of equipment, piece of furniture or any other defective product, the manufacturer may be liable.  

There are other possibilities as well. As a result, if you have been seriously injured at work and are dealing with pain and suffering as a result of your injuries, you will want to speak with a lawyer who can evaluate all of your options and help you seek the maximum compensation available.

Proving (and Calculating) Your Pain and Suffering Damages

Let’s say you have a claim for pain and suffering. How do you prove it—and how do you prove how much you are entitled to recover?

When you have a claim for pain and suffering damages, your lawyer will walk you through all of the steps you need to take to protect your legal rights. Your lawyer will also take several key steps on your behalf. This includes calculating “just compensation” for your pain and suffering based on your individual circumstances. With this in mind, here are some of the basic steps you can take now to help maximize your chances of a full financial recovery:

1. Keep Getting Treatment for Your Injury

Getting the treatment you need is extremely important when seeking pain and suffering damages. Note, however, that you may need to see a certified doctor (after your first visit) if you are seeking workers’ compensation benefits in addition to filing a claim outside of workers’ comp.

2. Document Your Pain and Suffering

It will be important for you to document your pain and suffering as thoroughly as possible. To start, you can get in the habit of keeping a daily log or “pain journal” where you write down your injuries’ physical and psychological effects.

3. Talk to an Attorney

When you are coping with a work injury, there is no substitute for experienced legal representation. To get the help you need to recover the financial compensation you deserve, you should talk to an attorney as soon as possible.

Discuss Your Legal Rights with an Attorney at Malek & Malek Law Firm

Do you have questions about your legal rights after suffering an on-the-job injury in Ohio? If so, we encourage you to get in touch. Call 888-444-7440 or contact us online to arrange a free consultation.