Workers’ compensation provides wage replacement and medical benefits to employees injured on the job. Your employer is required to purchase workers’ compensation insurance.
When an employee gets hurt on the job, he or she must file a claim with the employer’s workers’ compensation insurance company. To obtain benefits, workers do not have to prove that the employer was at “fault” for causing the injury. Employees just have to prove that the they suffered a work related injury while on the job.
If a worker can establish that he or she suffered a work related injury then they are entitled to compensation. Typically employees receive compensation for medical care related to the injury and, in some cases, payment to compensate for the resulting disabilities. Generally speaking, an employee cannot recover pain and suffering, and punitive damages.
Workers’ compensation may sound simple, but the journey can be complex and overwhelming. For example, if you get into an auto accident on your way to a work meeting then you can obtain workers’ compensation benefits. However, if you inflict an injury on yourself at work or get hurt while trying to commit a crime or violating explicit company policy then you may not get benefits.
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Most companies are required by law to buy workers’ compensation insurance. If a business fails to get adequate workers’ comp coverage then it will be fined. Not all workers are covered. Independent contractors, farm workers, volunteers, domestic employees, and business owners are often not eligibile for workers’ compensation.
Common Workplace Injuries
Common workplace injuries include construction site accidents, work related auto accidents, toxic exposure accidents, defective machinery accidents, fire and electrocution injuries, and repetitive stress injuries. Not all of these injuries and illnesses are dramatic and sudden. In some cases, workers only develop health problems after months or years of exposure. For instance, a secretary might develop debilitating carpel tunnel syndrome after working for 20 years at a bank. Or a machinist might develop glaucoma or other serious eye problems after years of doing welding work in front of a scorching bright flame. Both the secretary and the welder can get workers’ compensation.