If you have been hurt in an accident, the most lasting and limiting of your injuries may not be visible at all. Mental and emotional trauma can lead you to develop anxiety, depression, or posttraumatic stress disorder, among other conditions. The effects of these conditions can continue long after bones have healed and physical therapy is completed.
Recognizing that mental and emotional injuries are just as real as physical ones, Missouri allows personal injury victims to recover non-economic damages. These damages compensate you for the effects that mental trauma or emotional disturbances caused by your accident have on your quality of life.
Non-Economic Damages Not Available in Workers Comp Claims
Just because you are hurt on the job does not guarantee that you will not have mental or emotional injuries. Yet Missouri’s workers compensation program does not allow you to seek compensation for your non-economic losses. While a workers comp claim will cover your medical bills and a portion of your lost wages, no compensation is available for non-economic harm.
To understand why this is so, you must understand the nature and purpose of workers compensation. These benefits are available to any employee who is hurt or becomes ill on the job. Compensation is typically paid quickly and without any consideration of fault. You could have carelessly caused your own injuries and workers comp would pay your claim.
This could become quite expensive for employers and insurers, who have few grounds to object to paying a workers comp claim. Thus, the decision to exclude non-economic damages from the list of benefits available to injured workers is a financial one. Doing so helps keep claims more manageable and affordable for the entities responsible for paying them.
Other Routes for Obtaining Non-Economic Damages
Being precluded from seeking compensation for your mental and emotional injuries through a workers compensation claim can be frustrating. You are likely to be frustrated if your physical injuries are relatively minor but the mental and emotional trauma you suffered was significant. While workers compensation may not be an option for recovering damages, you may have other options.
For example, you might be able to bring a third-party lawsuit against the negligent third party who caused your accident, if that person is not a coworker. These lawsuits are similar to other personal injury lawsuits and allow you to pursue non-economic damages. Additionally, if your employer or coworker acted with particular malice or callousness in causing you harm, you might have the right to bring a lawsuit against them directly.
Wegmann Law Firm is Here to Help You After a Workplace Injury
Wegmann Law Firm and our team of experienced Missouri workers compensation attorneys are available to discuss with you your rights after a workplace accident. Our Hillsboro team will review with you the compensation you can expect to receive, whether a third-party claim is available to you, and answer all your questions.
Set up your consultation with us by calling our office at (636) 797-2665 or reaching out to us through our website.