Q&A with Workers Compensation Attorney, Tom Cummings

Q&A With Workers Comp Attorney, Tom Cummings
Date: December 30, 2022

Question: I was hurt at work in 2020. I injured my back. I was just offered a lump sum payment to settle my worker’s compensation claim. I’m back to work and I haven’t seen a doctor for the injury in over six months. I have talked to the adjuster from the insurance company over the past few weeks and their latest offer seems fair to me. But I just talked to my uncle who told me that I’m settling too low and that I should be compensated for my pain and suffering. He also said that my wife could collect some money for all of the inconvenience she suffered when I was laid up from my injury. Is this true? M.M., Scranton, Pa.

Dear M.M.- In Pennsylvania, the measure of damages in a worker’s compensation claim is based upon your loss of earnings while you were disabled as a result of the work injury as well as your medical expenses arising from the work injury. In certain cases, there are additional damages that may be payable for the loss of a body part (i.e. amputation or loss of a finger, toe, etc. ) or for loss of hearing or for loss of sight. Unfortunately, damages payable in a worker’s compensation case in Pennsylvania do not include pain and suffering nor do they include damages for your spouse (commonly referred to as loss of consortium).

Your question is a common one. The measure of damages in a worker’s compensation case differs from case to case. Damages differ greatly depending on the nature of the injury, the degree of your disability, the medical prognosis of your work injury (will your injury worsen, what type of medical treatment you may require in the future, etc.), and how long you were out of work. Other factors to consider include whether there is a likelihood that you will be disabled again in the future and how much money you may need to cover the cost of future medical treatment. You also need to consider what measures the insurance carrier can pursue to reduce or terminate your compensation benefits. Consultation with a trained legal professional may be in your best interests.

If you’ve suffered a work injury and have questions about your claim, contact me at tcummings@dlplaw.com or call (570) 347-1011 for a free consultation. We can discuss your work injury claim, the value of your case, and your legal options.

Disclaimer: The above article is for instructive purposes only and each case is fact sensitive.  Consultation with an attorney should be obtained instead of relying upon the legal issues discussed in this column.

Tom Cummings
Thomas P. Cummings has been a Partner with Dougherty Leventhal & Price, LLP since 1996 and has been with the firm since 1991. He focuses his practice on workers’ compensation, Social Security Disability and personal injury cases.