Our clients often ask whether the employer should pay for more than they are already paying for in a workers’ compensation claim. For better or worse, benefits that are available in a workers’ compensation claim are far less than a full remedy for the injuries and losses that our clients suffer.
The benefits consist of a variety of indemnity or wage benefits (temporary total, temporary partial, permanent partial benefits and related COLA (Cost of Living)). Also a claimant with a compensable case can receive an award of lifetime medical benefits for reasonable and necessary medical care related to and resulting from the work injuries with authorized treating doctors or referrals from those doctors. Medical benefits also include the right to reimbursement for mileage. In unusual cases for the most catastrophic injuries, occasionally an injured worker is entitled to lifetime weekly/indemnity checks. This is what is called a permanent total claim. Also if an injured worker dies as a result of the work injuries then the estate may be entitled to funeral bills, medical bills until the date of death and there may be appropriate death beneficiaries that would potentially be entitled to some wage or indemnity benefits. Even if an injury is covered by workers’ compensation the benefits are not full and complete compensation for our client’s injuries and losses since there is no compensation for pain and suffering, inconvenience, impact on quality of life, impact on relationships, and numerous other quality of life or collateral losses that are likely to be suffered when hurt at work. In short, the collateral impact of a work injury often times goes way beyond the compensation that is provided even though the employer may have been negligent, reckless, or even intentionally causes a work related injury. If workers’ compensation is available, that is likely the exclusive remedy against the employer and the employer cannot be sued for that work injury and accident.
If you have questions about these issues or anything else related to your workers’ compensation case, please give us a call at (804) 294-2966.