Workers’ compensation is a topic that many employees do not properly understand. However, it is a topic that is essential for employees to comprehend in order to protect themselves while on the job.
Oftentimes when employees are injured on the job, they are not aware of the options they have. Workers’ compensation laws can be complicated and vary from state to state, making it harder for employees to understand what options are available to them. Below are some of the basics of workers’ compensation to help equip you with the necessary information that employees should know before suffering a workplace injury.
What is Workers Compensation?
Workers’ compensation is a way for employees who are injured on the job to get paid for any lost wages and medical expenses from their injury. The laws that enforce workers’ compensation laws are complicated. However, understanding the history of workers’ compensation laws can help employees better understand the current laws and what they are meant to do.
Workers Compensation History
The origins of workers’ compensation laws date back to the 1860s in the UK and Germany. In the United States, such laws did not pass until 1908. The first workers’ compensation law in the United States was passed federally and meant to protect federal workers. Two years later, New Jersey and Wisconsin began passing workers’ compensation laws on the state level.
Prior to this in the U.S., workers’ compensation was virtually non-existent. It was believed that employees were aware of the risk of the job when deciding to work in potentially dangerous environments. Therefore, the employer was not responsible for any injuries that the employer incurred while working. It was decided that there needed to be laws in place to protect workers from the risk they faced while trying to make a living wage.
Workers Compensation Today
From the period of 1910-1920, states in the U.S. began implementing their own workers’ compensation laws. One reason for these laws was because employees were not able to successfully bring lawsuits. Workers’ compensation laws create a balanced system that benefits both employees and employers. These laws provide a way for employees to gain at least partial compensation for their injuries on the job.
Although these laws are not full-proof with some employees not receiving compensation for their injuries, the chances are increased compared to before there were workers’ compensation laws. For the best chance at winning workers’ compensation, employees are encouraged to hire a lawyer who is knowledgeable about the complexities of the law.
“If an employee is in a situation where they need to seek workers’ compensation, it’s more than likely they have a lot on the line with both their health and their income.” said Attorney Gary Christmas of Christmas Injury Lawyers. “A workers’ compensation lawyer can help that employee have the best chance of recovering the compensation they need to pay for medical expenses and lost wages.”
Workers’ compensation is also beneficial for employers. Employers have some protection with these laws since they put limits on damage compensation, loss of wages, and medical expenses. This means employees aren’t able to receive any damages beyond this point because these laws do not look at negligence or fault. This helps employers because they do not have to worry about losing money that is beyond the scope of wages and medical expenses.
Overall, workers’ compensation is important for both employers and employees. Understanding what workers’ compensation laws can and cannot do can be helpful for all parties when dealing with a workers’ compensation claimIf you are an employee who thinks they may have a claim to workers’ compensation, you are encouraged to seek legal advice.
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