Workers Compensation

Workers Compensation

Workers compensation is a state-mandated program which provides compensation to employees who are injured on the job.  Workers compensation is a no-fault system that is intended to protect and benefit both the employer and the employee.

Under this system, an employer cannot generally be held liable for an employee’s work-related injuries in a civil case and the employee is guaranteed compensation for their injuries even if they were partially to blame for the accident.  

Workers Comp Laws Differ from State to State

While each state has its own laws regarding worker’s compensation, employers typically have to purchase workers compensation insurance to cover their employees. In some states, large companies can self-insure and very small companies are not required to purchase this insurance.

Certain federal employees are also not covered under this standard workers compensation system.  For example, rail workers are covered under the Federal Employer’s Liability Act (FELA) and may have the right to sue a negligent employer in a worker’s compensation case. 

Workers Compensation Claim

In general when an employee is injured on the job, a workers compensation claim will be filed with the insurance company who will provide compensation according to state-approved guidelines. 

Worker’s compensation is not generally 100 percent of an employee’s losses as a result of their injury or illness but, rather, some percentage thereof (usually about 60-70 percent).  Benefits from workers compensation can include reparations for lost income, medical expenses, other related expenses (like fuel costs), and vocational benefits. 

Not All Injuries Covered by Workers Compensation

Not all injured employees are eligible for workers compensation.  Injuries that are during the commission of a crime, while not on the job, while violating company policy, or those that are self-inflicted are generally not covered by worker’s compensation.

Work-related injuries (i.e. repetitive stress injuries, back pain, and carpal tunnel syndrome) or work related illnesses (i.e. stress-related digestive problems, heart conditions, and lung disease) are often covered by workers compensation.

Social Security Benefits

When an individual suffers an injury which leaves them permanently disabled, they may be eligible for social security benefits after (or in lieu of) workers compensation. These benefits are often limited to those who have been seriously injured. 

In some cases, an employee may sue their employer for injuries or illness sustained on the job. When a worker is injured because of their employer’s reckless or intentional actions, the victim can often bypass the workers compensation system and sue their employer for all related damages including monetary damages, pain and suffering, and punitive damages. 

If you or a loved one has suffered a work related illness or injury, and you wish to learn more about workers compensation, please contact us to speak with a qualified and experienced attorney in your area. 

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