Compensation for pain and suffering is available in most types of accident cases. It is not available in Florida workers’ compensation cases.
Florida’s workers’ compensation system was instituted so that employees injured at work would not have to prove fault in order to receive benefits. Entitlement to compensation was to be as simple as proving that injuries resulted from an accident that occurred in the course and scope of one’s employment. In theory, at least, the system remains in place today.
In exchange for the creation of this no-fault system, injured employees lost the right to be compensated for pain and suffering. Injured workers’ are entitled to lost wages and medical benefits, but not compensation for pain and suffering.
Understandably so, this is a difficult concept for most lay people to comprehend. It is a concept that I must explain again and again to my workers’ compensation clients.
It is such a difficult issue, in fact, that I have devised an exercise to make the point. I begin by asking my clients, ‘how much money do you expect to receive in your workers’ compensation case for pain & suffering?’ Invariably, the answer is, “I don’t know.” I then ask them to close their eyes. Once this is done, I ask the question, “What do you see?” When the answer is “Nothing,” I tell them that nothing is exactly how much they will receive as compensation for pain and suffering in the workers’ compensation case. Point understood.
That pain and suffering damages are not recoverable in workers’ compensation cases is a tough pill for injured workers to swallow. Sometimes, even, my clients look at me as if I am not being truthful or do not know the law.
I explain that since my attorney’s fee is a percentage of their overall recovery, I, as much as they, wish that pain and suffering were a measure of damages in workers’ compensation cases. Anything that increases the value of a case is a positive thing from my perspective. This explanation also bolsters the point.
My job as an attorney is to explain the law to my clients, good and bad. Unfortunately, reality sometimes hurts. However, my belief is that being up front about the realities of a case are far less painful than the consequences of misleading and creating false hope.
Contact us at 866-785-GALE or by email to learn your legal rights.
Jeffrey P. Gale, P.A. is a South Florida based law firm committed to the judicial system and to representing and obtaining justice for individuals – the poor, the injured, the forgotten, the voiceless, the defenseless and the damned, and to protecting the rights of such people from corporate and government oppression. We do not represent government, corporations or large business interests.