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What is your injury worth? Maybe less than you think, study finds

When it comes to seeking compensation for injuries after a work-related accident, it's oftentimes easy for insurers to total the damages that should be covered. That's because the cost of a doctor's visit, medical procedures, a hospital stay, an ambulance ride, prescription costs, other medical treatments and lost wages are relatively easy to calculate because they have a monetary cost associated with them. Psychological injuries, on the other hand, aren't so easy to calculate.

In workers' compensation cases involving psychological injuries, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) -- which we outlined in an October blog post --recovering damages can be a challenge without help from a seasoned workers' compensation attorney. This is, in part, due to the fact it can be difficult to calculate a cost for pain and suffering. But as a recent study points out, recovering adequate damages for emotional losses may be trickier than most people think.

The effect of small economic losses on compensation claims

According to a new study conducted by researchers at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, reporting small economic losses that were suffered in addition to noneconomic losses (ie: psychological injuries) can actually decrease the total amount of compensation you receive. As a November article for the Claims Journal explains, "[P]eople are inclined to reward considerable compensation for emotional loss if that is the only loss. But, when a small economic loss accompanies the emotional loss, that fact lowers the total compensation award recommended."

As researchers discovered, trivial losses typically did not impact the amount of compensation was awarded. However, it did raise an important question: What information should you disclose to your employer after a work-related accident and what is best left unsaid?

The importance of seeking legal counsel

Lawyers with experience handling worker's compensation claims not only know what can jeopardize a claim, but also how to recover maximum compensation. If the study's results are true and small economic losses can impact the total compensation received from an injury claim, then seeking the help of an attorney after a work-related accident may be the best call if recovering full and fair compensation is a necessity.

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