Workers Compensation

Workers Compensation in the United States

Introduction

The name commonly used to designate the method and means created by statutes for giving protection and security to the worker and his or her dependents against injury and death occurring in the course of employment. Workmen’s compensation laws generally impose an absolute liability (or liability without fault) on the employer. The employer must compensate employees for injuries sustained in their employment even though the employer takes every precaution to prevent injury and the employee is negligent. See negligence (in U.S. law). (Revised by Ann De Vries)

What is Workmen’s Compensation?

For a meaning of it, read Workmen’s Compensation in the Legal Dictionary here.

Worker´s compensation

The industrial revolution led to mechanisation of the work place and a corresponding rise in serious injuries. To correct the worst excesses of laissez faire capitalism, comprehensive schemes of social insurance based on employee and state contributions arose. Under a system of worker’s compensation, the victim of a workplace accident will have a right to a definite fixed compensation. The advantage of such a system is not only in loss spreading but also economy. Fewer costs are spent on lawsuits in such systems. Further they reduce the “roulette” aspects of tort law. While plaintiffs recover lower damages under worker’s compensation than they might have at trial their legal costs may be lower and the standards of proof are in practice lower such that an employee injured at the work place in the scope of his or her duties will nearly certain to recover, even without finding of fault.

Legal Materials

Statistics on compensation are compiled by the Bureau of Labor Statistics and posted on the BLS Web site.

State compensation laws are compiled in Aspen Publishers’ State by State Guide to Human Resources Law.

Links to Web sites posting strategies for negotiating compensation are available onJobstar.

Estimated Salary Increases: Each year several sources produce national salary surveys used to estimate pay raises for the following year. These include: the Salary Increase Budget Survey by WorldatWork; the annual salary survey by the Conference Board; the Compensation Planning Survey by Mercer; and the U.S. Salary Increase Survey by Hewitt Associates. Summaries of these surveys are generally written up in the national business press, and some data is generally posted on the organization Web sites.

To find salary projections for a particular state, city or region, search online articles from the local business press and/or call local business papers. For example, in Cleveland,Crain’s Cleveland Business reports the salary increases predicted by a local employer’s group called ERC.

Salaries for Specific Jobs: The Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Handbookprovides somewhat official average compensation figures for a wide range of jobs. Links to other salary surveys on the Web are posted by JobStar. More detailed but much more expensive surveys are compiled by human resources consulting firms, such as Mercer and Towers Watson.

The Society for Human Resources (SHRM) compiles lists of salary surveys in various industries that are available to SRHM members on the SHRM website.

In this legal Encyclopedia there are some description of materials where to find compensation information for some specific jobs, including Accountants, College Graduates, Corporate Directors, Executives, Lawyers, Educators and others.

Plain-English Law

Workers Compensation as defined by Nolo’s Encyclopedia of Everyday Law (p. 437-455): A program that provides replacement income and medical expenses to employees who are injured on the job or become ill as a result of work.

Workers’ Compensation Legislation

For information about Workers’ Compensation Legislation, click here.

Defending the Workers’ Compensation Claim in the Trucking Industry and Preparing for the Claim on the Front End

This section examines the Defending the Workers’ Compensation Claim in the Trucking Industry and Preparing for the Claim on the Front End subject in its related phase of trial. In some cases, other key elements related to trials, such as personal injury, business, and criminal litigation, are also addressed. Workers’ compensation is an insurance program required by the state that provides compensation to employees who suffer job-related injuries and illnesses.

Hiring an Attorney (in General)

(In United States law, in the context of Workers’ Compensation) When meeting with a potential attorney, the employee should be able to get a good feel for the practitioner’s level of confidence, professionalism, and demeanor.

Questions to ask an Attorney

Note: Find out more information about this topic in this American legal Encyclopedia. As an employee considers an attorney, there are several questions to ask so that he or she has a good idea of the experience, background, and skills on their potential advocate.

Attorney Experience and Qualifications

Note: Find out more information about this topic in this American legal Encyclopedia.

•What is the attorney’s success rate with similar cases?

•How does the attorney keep current with the workers compensation laws?

•Does he or she specialize in workers compensation law, or do they practice other areas?

•Will the attorney be working on the case personally or will assistants do the majority of the work?

•Does the attorney represent employers and insurance companies in workers’ comp cases or only injured workers?

•Is the attorney certified in workers’ comp by the State Bar?

The Employee’s Case

Note: Find out more information about this topic in this American legal Encyclopedia.

•Ask the attorney how he or she would approach the case?

•What are the options in the employee’s case?

•What are the strengths and weakness of the employee’s case?

Legal Fees and Charges

Note: Find out more information about this topic in this American legal Encyclopedia.

•Explain the attorney’s fees.

•Is the employee charged for litigation-related expenses?

•Will there be charges and fees even if the case is unsuccessful?

•How are consultative medical examinations with specialists arranged?

Other Claims

Note: Find out more information about this topic in this American legal Encyclopedia. Workers’ compensation will provide compensation and benefits to an injured employee.

The Workers’ Comp Claim Process (in General)

(In United States law, in the context of Workers’ Compensation)

Report the Injury and Make a Claim

Note: Find out more information about this topic in this American legal Encyclopedia. When an employee is injured or falls ill on the job, he or she should immediately report this to their supervisor.

Insurance

Note: Find out more information about this topic in this American legal Encyclopedia. The employer must report the employee’s injury to the insurance company by law within seven days of when the employee reported the illness or injury to the employer.

Medical Care

Note: Find out more information about this topic in this American legal Encyclopedia. Treatment and care for the employee’s injury or illness is provided by a physician authorized by the employer or its insurance company.

After Seeing the Doctor

Note: Find out more information about this topic in this American legal Encyclopedia. The employee should let his or her employer and the insurance company know about the medical diagnosis and the decision as to returning to work or next steps in treatment.

Benefits (in General)

(In United States law, in the context of Workers’ Compensation) If the employee is unable to work for more than seven days, he or she will receive compensation to partially replace what they were unable to earn after their accident.

Total Disability

Note: Find out more information about this topic in this American legal Encyclopedia. If the physician determines that the employee cannot work at all, he or she should receive compensation equaling about 66 2/3% of their regular wages at the time of the injury or illness.

Temporary Partial Disability

Note: Find out more information about this topic in this American legal Encyclopedia. If the employee is able to return to work, but cannot earn the same wages as were earned at the time of the illness or injury, he or she will receive compensation equaling 80% of the difference between 80% of what the employee earned before their injury and what they are able to earn after the injury.

Impairment Benefits

Note: Find out more information about this topic in this American legal Encyclopedia. When the physician determines that the employee is at Maximum Medical Improvement, this means that the employee’s condition is as good as it is expected to get.

Reemployment Services

Note: Find out more information about this topic in this American legal Encyclopedia. These services are intended to assist injured employees return to the workforce when their work-related injury or illness keeps them from returning to their previous line of work.

Employee Workers’ Compensation Penalties (in General)

(In United States law, in the context of Workers’ Compensation) There are criminal violations filing a false claim for work-related injuries or for exaggerating the extent of the injuries.

Statute of Limitations

Note: Find out more information about this topic in this American legal Encyclopedia. he employee has two years from the date of his or her injury or illness to file a workers’ compensation claim, but it should really be reported within 30 days.

Denial of Benefits

Note: Find out more information about this topic in this American legal Encyclopedia. If an employer and the insurance company deny an employee’s claim for workers’ compensation benefits, the employee may attempt to discuss the denial with the insurance company.

The Burden of Proof

Note: Find out more information about this topic in this American legal Encyclopedia. The burden of proof is on the injured employee to show by a preponderance of the evidence that he or she has a legitimate claim.

Workers’ Compensation: The Basics (in General)

(In United States law, in the context of Workers’ Compensation) Employers in any industry (besides construction) with four or more employees—either full-time or part-time—must have workers’ compensation coverage.

Work-Related Injury

Note: Find out more information about this topic in this American legal Encyclopedia. At the center of a workers’ comp claim is a work-related injury or illness.

Common Workers Compensation Injuries

Note: Find out more information about this topic in this American legal Encyclopedia. Claims for workers’ comp can be for many types of injuries. Here are some of the most common ones.

Main Elements

Worker’s Compensation Defined

Workers’ compensation law is a system of rules in every state designed to pay the expenses of employees who are harmed while performing job-related duties. Employees can recover lost wages, medical expenses, disability payments, and costs associated with rehabilitation and retraining.

Procedure in Contested Cases

Upon filing a workers’ compensation claim, employees can be surprised to learn the company they work for is disputing the validity of the claim. Employers have an incentive to dispute claims they feel are improper, as the rates they pay into the system will be affected, to some degree, by the number of claims paid on their behalf.

Most Popular Entries related to Workers Compensation

Resources

See Also

  • Bureau of Labor Statistics
  • Cost of Living
  • Employee Benefits
  • Human Resources
  • Labor Statistics
  • Productivity
  • Master and Servant
  • Respondeat Superior
  • No-fault liability
  • Strict liability
  • Fellow servant rule

Further Reading

Workers’ Compensation in the International Business Landscape

Definition of Workers’ Compensation in the context of U.S. international business and public trade policy: No-fault insurance providing recovery for workers who sustain illness or injury on the job.

Workers Compensation: Open and Free Legal Research of US Law

Federal Primary Materials

The U.S. federal government system consists of executive, legislative, and judicial branches, each of which creates information that can be the subject of legal research about Workers Compensation. This part provides references, in relation to Workers Compensation, to the legislative process, the federal judiciary, and the primary sources of federal law (cases, statutes, and regulations).

Federal primary materials about Workers Compensation by content types:

Laws and Regulations

US Constitution
Federal Statutory Codes and Legislation

Federal Case Law and Court Materials

U.S. Courts of Appeals
United States courts of appeals, inclouding bankruptcy courts and bankcruptcy appellate panels:

Federal Administrative Materials and Resources

Presidential Materials

Materials that emanate from the President’s lawmaking function include executive orders for officers in departments and agencies and proclamations for announcing ceremonial or commemorative policies. Presidential materials available include:

Executive Materials

Federal Legislative History Materials

Legislative history traces the legislative process of a particular bill (about Workers Compensation and other subjects) for the main purpose of determining the legislators’ intent behind the enactment of a law to explain or clarify ambiguities in the language or the perceived meaning of that law (about Workers Compensation or other topics), or locating the current status of a bill and monitoring its progress.

State Administrative Materials and Resources

State regulations are rules and procedures promulgated by state agencies (which may apply to Workers Compensation and other topics); they are a binding source of law. In addition to promulgating regulations, state administrative boards and agencies often have judicial or quasi-judicial authority and may issue administrative decisions affecting Workers Compensation. Finding these decisions can be challenging. In many cases, researchers about Workers Compensation should check state agency web sites for their regulations, decisions, forms, and other information of interest.

State rules and regulations are found in codes of regulations and administrative codes (official compilation of all rules and regulations, organized by subject matter). Search here:

State opinions of the Attorney General (official written advisory opinions on issues of state law related to Workers Compensation when formerly requested by a designated government officer):

Tools and Forms

Law in Other Regions

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