One of the most common questions we are asked by injured workers is whether they can get money for pain and suffering. Under our workers’ compensation laws in Indiana, injured workers cannot receive money for pain and suffering for the work related injury. There is an exception under Indiana law, but only for workers who have the right to sue a third party responsible for their injuries. Under the civil laws in Indiana, an injured worker can receive pain and suffering if the worker has the right to sue a third party.
Let us illustrate – Let’s say that you are hurt at work driving a semi-truck for a trucking company and are rear-ended on a highway by someone working for another company. Since you are working at the time of the accident, you will be eligible to receive Indiana workers’ compensation benefits. These benefits do not include money for pain and suffering. However, you would also have the right to sue the gentleman who rear-ended you since he worked for another company. This case is called a third party case, or a civil case. Under the civil laws in Indiana, you can receive money for pain and suffering.
Many injured workers do not have a third party case because they were hurt at work not due to the fault of any other party.