Many workers who call our office are pissed off. It happens for a variety of reasons. They got hurt because their company didn’t follow basic safety rules. Or the insurance adjuster is being awful to them. Or their boss is pressuring them to come back before they are ready to. Whatever the reason, their work injury becomes more aggravating than it should be.

What I hear next is usually something along the lines of “Can I get compensated for pain and suffering?”

The short answer is that pain and suffering is not part of Illinois workers’ compensation claims.

The longer answer is that Illinois work comp settlements take in to account how the injury has affected and continues to affect your life. The pain you notice while working matters. The pain you have while doing normal daily activities such as walking around or playing with your kids matters. So does what you notice when you try to sleep. The pain element is a big factor in any workers’ compensation case. The worse it has been and still is, the more the case is worth.

There is no specific settlement amount for “suffering” in Illinois work comp cases. But another big settlement factor is the type of medical care that you’ve had. Generally speaking, the more serious your injury, the more you suffered and the more medical care that would be required. A back surgery is painful and it also likely makes your case worth much more than if your treatment resolved with just physical therapy. So while it’s not called suffering, in most cases, the more you suffer, the more a case is worth.

And while we can’t typically increase the case value because your company didn’t follow safety rules, if the insurance adjuster is breaking the law by not paying benefits without good reason, they can be hit with penalties and fees that punish them for their bad behavior.

More so, unlike car accidents where the ultimate value of the case is in part due to how much insurance the defendant and you have, there are no caps or insurance limits in Illinois work comp cases. We’ve seen catastrophic car accident cases where the case ended up only being worth $25,000 because that’s all the insurance that was available. The plaintiff didn’t get pain and suffering or anything else near the true value of what they deserved. That doesn’t happen in work comp cases.

My advice is not to worry about what something is called, but focused on what you are and aren’t able to recover financially. If you win $400,000.00 but they don’t call it pain and suffering, that’s a lot better than getting $50,000 and them calling it for suffering or anything else.

This can be confusing, so if you have any questions and want to speak with a lawyer for free, contact us any time.