The North Carolina Industrial Commission processes more than 63,000 Workers' Compensation claims annually. Of these claims, only specific circumstances allow the injured worker to request compensation for pain and suffering. State industries vary from coal mining to construction to truck driving. Serious workplace injuries are more common in certain industries but pain and suffering cannot always be claimed.
In most cases, the kind of compensation is determined by the extent of the disability caused to the worker. State law will often exclude pain and suffering as part of a Workers' Compensation case. North Carolina Workers' Compensation provides for pain and suffering if the injury is a result of third-party fault or negligence. Third-party is anyone at fault other than the employer or the injured party.
Examples of third-party negligence include:
Examples of employer negligence include:
Cases that include pain and suffering are filed as personal injury claims rather than Workers' Compensation. An attorney can be consulted to help determine eligibility for pain and suffering related to a claim. Claims involving a third-party will deal with determining who is at fault.
Workers' compensation is a separate claim but it is possible to file both claims for the same incident. The process can become more complicated as the employer and the third-party may look to each other to assist in dealing with the needs of injured worker. It is best to do what will be most beneficial to the recovery of the injured worker. Filing both claims will make the process more complex but may be in the best interest of the employee.
Workers' Compensation law is intended to put the victim back as close as possible to life before an injury. An injured worker needs to know the difference in a claim that should include pain and suffering to determine eligibility.