Q: Do Jones Act benefits provide compensation for pain and suffering?
Most workers’ compensation programs provide payment for an injured employee’s lost wages and medical bills, but do not compensate him for pain and suffering. However, injured seamen can collect additional funds for their pain and suffering through the Jones Act, potentially resulting in a much higher payment under the Jones Act versus a workers’ compensation claim.
Calculating Pain and Suffering in a Jones Act Claim
Pain and suffering can refer to physical trauma, but also to mental anguish and emotional suffering caused by the injury or the accident. It can be difficult to calculate pain and suffering since losses can vary widely. For instance, the loss of a limb may reduce a worker’s future earning capacity, place a permanent burden of financial stress on his shoulders, and cause him to become withdrawn and depressed.
Victims can begin to estimate pain and suffering by examining their:
- Past trauma. Evaluating the pain you have suffered during and immediately after the accident can help predict likely problems in the future. Testimony from witnesses at the accident scene, surgeons, and psychiatrists who have treated you can help paint a picture of what you had to overcome.
- Known losses. Both physical and emotional conditions can improve over time, but that does not mean you should not be compensated for each day you are forced to cope with the effects of your injury. If you are currently experiencing anxiety, depression, shock, shame, mood swings, loss of appetite, severe fatigue, difficulty sleeping, or sexual dysfunction, or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as a result of the accident, you can still collect pain and suffering even if your doctor thinks you have a good chance of getting better.
- Future suffering. While your physical injuries may have healed, you may still be affected by your accident for years into the future. You may have permanent limitations on your job opportunities, physical capabilities, and chronic pain that limits your employment as well as your enjoyment of life.
There are no hard-and-fast rules used to determine the value of pain and suffering in a Jones Act case. As a result, it will be up to you and your attorney to place a reasonable monetary value on your losses, and even then the exact figure will be up to the jury. We can help you estimate your losses and aggressively seek compensation on your behalf. Contact us by phone, by using the instant live chat feature, or by filling out the quick contact form on this page.