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Are Non-Economic Damages Available Through Workers’ Compensation?

Workers’ compensation often provides coverage for medical bills and lost wages. Other expenses, such as transportation costs, may be available through a workers’ compensation claim as well.

The damages caused by occupational injuries are not limited to these types of expenses. An on-the-job accident can contribute to significant emotional distress and mental anguish. In personal injury law, these damages are known as non-economic damages. As a person who was injured at work and has sustained significant non-economic damages as well as financial costs, you may be wondering if coverage for these damages is available through a workers’ compensation claim. Unfortunately, workers’ compensation often does not cover non-economic damages. There may be another way for you to get coverage for these damages outside of the workers’ compensation system.

What are Non-Economic Damages?

Non-economic damages are the emotional and mental effects of an injury. While these “costs” do not have a monetary value, they can be compensable in some injury cases. It is often possible for the victims of car accidents, medical malpractice, and other types of personal injury claims to receive compensation for non-economic damages. However, non-economic damages are not available through the workers’ compensation system.

Types of non-economic damages that may arise through a work injury include:

  • Pain and suffering

  • Loss of purpose

  • Loss of enjoyment of life

  • Stress and anxiety

  • Depression

  • Loss of companionship, in cases of fatal work injuries

Other Methods of Receiving Compensation After a Work Injury

Receiving coverage for non-economic damages may be possible outside of the workers’ compensation system. Depending on the circumstances of your case, you may have the option to file a lawsuit against a third party that is liable for your injuries. Workers’ compensation is a no-fault system, so it is rare that employers are held liable for injuries. However, it may be possible to file a separate claim against your employer — outside of the workers’ compensation system — if they were grossly negligent or intentionally caused you harm. Through this type of claim, it would also be possible to recover compensation for the non-economic damages caused by your injury.

The attorneys of Smolich & Smolich are dedicated to helping work injury victims recover the compensation they deserve. We are available to discuss the details of your workers’ compensation case today.

Send us a message or call (916) 571-0400 for a free consultation with our lawyers.

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