The pain and suffering from a job-related injury can last a lifetime. From chronic lower back pain to persistent migraines, and from physical limitations to anxiety and depression, traumatic injuries can have a variety of lasting effects, and these effects can negatively impact all aspects of your personal and professional life.
If you are like most people, you probably somewhat familiar with the term, “pain and suffering.” This is a legal term that describes many (but not all) of the non-financial costs associated with an accident-related injury. In many cases, accident victims will experience significant pain and suffering, and the associated non-financial costs will often far exceed victims’ medical expenses and other financial losses.
Workers’ Compensation Does Not Cover Pain and Suffering
Unfortunately, workers’ compensation does not cover pain and suffering in Illinois. The Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act helps to ensure that all eligible workers receive at least some compensation for their job-related injuries; but, in doing so, it also limits the total compensation available to injured employees. In a typical case, the benefits available through workers’ compensation include only:
- Medical benefits
- Disability benefits (partial wage replacement)
- Vocational rehabilitation and retraining benefits
How to Recover Compensation for Pain and Suffering After a Job-Related Accident
Even though workers’ compensation does pay benefits for pain and suffering, in many cases, it will still be possible for injured workers to recover damages for these non-financial losses. Although the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act prevents employees from filing personal injury claims against their employers (in most cases), it does not prevent personal injury claims against third parties. So, if your job-related accident was the result of a product defect or negligence on the part of a contractor, subcontractor, property owner, or other third party, you may be able to recover full compensation for all of your financial and non-financial loses. This includes compensation for your pain and suffering.
Calculating Pain and Suffering from a Work Injury
How do you put a dollar amount on pain and suffering? It isn’t easy, and there is not a single straightforward answer. One of the most common methods is to use a multiplier. With this approach, the first step is to calculate your financial losses (including medical expenses, other out-of-pocket costs and loss of income), and then you multiply the total by a number determined based upon factors such as:
- The extent and severity of the injury
- The nature and frequency of ongoing medical treatment required
- The level of physical pain
- The physical restrictions resulting from the injury
- Whether the injury is likely to result in a shortened life span
Typically, the multiplier will be somewhere in the range of one to five. So, if your financial losses total $100,000, your compensation for pain and suffering would fall somewhere between $100,000 and $500,000. However, in order to receive a fair settlement, you will need negotiate an appropriate multiplier with the at-fault party’s insurance company; and, if the insurance company refuses to settle, you may need to take your case to trial.
Experienced Work Injury Attorneys in Chicago, IL
Jackowiak Law Offices is a team of experienced work injury attorneys who have a long track record of successfully representing injured workers in Chicago, Illinois. If you have been injured at work and would like more information about recovering your financial and non-financial losses, you can call (312) 795-9595 or contact us online to schedule a free initial consultation.