Workers Compensation And Pain And Suffering

Oftentimes my clients who are injured at work want to know what their case is worth.  When I tell them they cannot collect pain and suffering for a workers comp claim they are understandably disappointed.  They justifiably expect to be able to sue their employer and collect pain and suffering, but they cannot.  However, they can collect sue and collect pain and suffering if their personal injuries were caused by a third-party.

For example, if you are driving a car for your employer and someone rear ends you, you have two possible claims.  You have a workers compensation case with your emoloyer’s workers comp insurance company.  This claim would be for payment of lost wages and medical bills. You also have a case against the driver for negligence for causing the car accident.  This claim would be for pain and suffering damages that were caused by the accident.

In that situation, Massachusetts law says that if you receive a settlement for the third-party case, then the workers compensation insurance company must be paid back a portion of the expenses they paid for on the workers comp case.

If there is a settlement of the third-party case a Section 15 petition must be filed with the Department of Industrial Accidents, and approved by an administrative judge.

The settlement money received is not taxable under either federal or state law.