An Overview of Workers Compensation

Original publish date: July 10, 2014 (Updated)

You may have heard of worker’s compensation but are wondering what it is and how it could apply to you. Understanding workers compensation is important to understand because injury on the job is not uncommon.

The rate of nonfatal occupational injury and illness cases in 2014 resulted in 3.2 cases per 100 equivalent full-time workers. The total results for the year was nearly 3 million nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses reported. The total fatal work-related injuries in 2014 was 4,679.

Here are a few other statistics provided by the Bureu of Labor Statistics for Nonfatal Injuries:

  • Median days away from work per case: 9
  • Cases involving sprains, strains, tears: 331,180
  • Cases involving injuries to the back: 162,720
  • Cases involving falls, slips, trips: 247,120

Here are a few other statistics provided by the Bureu of Labor Statistics for Fatal Injuries:

  • Roadway incidents (all sectors): 1,075
  • Falls, slips, trips (all sectors): 793
  • Homicides (all sectors): 403

Read: Common Work Related Injuries

It is a system designed to deal with injuries sustained on the job and a way to compensate the workers who suffered from them. Worker’s compensation laws are designed to ensure that those who are injured or disabled on the job are provided with fixed monetary awards, eliminating the need for litigation.

Worker’s Compensation Benefits

There are many different workers compensation programs. These programs vary in terms of compensation and benefits, including which injuries and illnesses are covered by insurance. Most employers are required by state law to have workers compensation insurance. Most workers compensation programs pay for medical expenses, repay most of lost earnings and pay for the loss of future earnings or provide vocational rehabilitation (training for a new job, physical therapy, etc.). When a worker is killed on the job, funeral costs are usually paid and survivors of the deceased may get wage-replacement benefits.

What If You Are Injured on the Job?

If you are injured on the job, it’s good to consult an work injury lawyer who specializes in workers compensation cases, especially if you think that your claim might be challenged by the insurance company or your employer. Though it’s important to consult a lawyer, it’s also essential to file a claim with your employer as soon as the injury occurs. Your employer will offer you an employee claim form to complete. The employer or the insurance company may contest the claim, which would result in a court hearing.

An essential part of the workers compensation process is the independent medical examination (IME). A doctor chosen by the insurance company performs this exam and reports the results to the insurance company, which uses the report to help form its compensation offer.