In my Virginia Workers' Compensation practice injured workers often ask "Why cannot I get pain and suffering and compensation for loss of quality of life due to the painful injury I suffered on the job?" The workers also say "After all it all occurred as a result of my injury on the job which was caused by my employer's negligence or the dangerous work environment."
The answer to this question goes back to the creation of the workers' compensation laws in the United States. These type of laws were first created in Germany by Bismarck to fend off Marxism and protect workers who were injured on the job. In the United States most of the states including Virginia enacted workers' compensation laws to provide for wage loss and medical expense coverage for injured workers in 1919 becoming the 37th state to enact such laws.
Even though these laws did benefit employees they did lose some rights. The injured employees lost their common law rights to sue their employers for "pain and suffering" and "loss of quality of life."
This loss can create a special hardship for an employee who has a permanent pain condition or impairment that not only prevents him or her from working but also has caused a loss of quality of life such as engaging in recreational activities.
Moreover, even though the Virginia Workers' Compensation Act provides compensation for wage loss coverage, in most cases this compensation ends in 500 weeks even though the injured worker is still unemployed due to his or her impairment. In even more cases, the worker loses his compensation because although still impaired or in pain due to his work injury he or she returns to "light duty employment" of one kind or another.
In summary, it may be unjust but you don't receive "any" compensation for pain and suffering in a Virginia Workers' Compensation case.
FOR MORE INFORMATION: contact Jerry Lutkenhaus at (804) 358-4766 or at (800) 256-8862 or visit our website at Virginia Workers' Compensation Lawyer.