Workers' Compensation: Overview

Modified on 2009/10/14 21:46 by admin
If you are injured on the job, you are entitled to compensation, regardless of who is at fault. Worker's compensation laws require that your employer compensate you if you are injured in the course of your employment. Unlike other personal injury situations, you will not have to prove that your employer caused your injury. This makes recovering money from your employer much easier. Since recovering money is easier under the worker's compensation process, you will not be permitted to recover as much money as you would in the typical personal injury lawsuit.

In order to take advantage of worker's compensation laws, you must be an employee (not an independent contractor), and your injury must have occurred during the course of your employment. If you are injured on the job, your employer will pay for your medical expenses, and you will receive some percentage (usually one half to two thirds) of your wages while you are unable to work. In exchange for these guaranteed payments you will not be able to sue your employer. You may, however, still sue any third party who may have negligently contributed to, or caused, your injury.

For instance, if an employee of Acme Company is injured while driving an Acme delivery truck, the employee is automatically eligible for worker's compensation benefits. However, while the employee cannot sue Acme (because the employee already was paid by worker's compensation) he may be able to sue the manufacturer of the delivery truck. That is, if there was a problem with the truck (faulty brakes, for instance) the employee may be able to sue the manufacturer if the manufacturer was negligent in designing or assembling the brakes on the truck. The employee will receive automatic compensation from his employer, Acme Company, under the worker's compensation law and, on top of that, he can sue the truck's manufacturer.

If you have been injured on the job, it may be important to contact an attorney who can help you protect your legal rights. Please keep in mind that there may be time limits within which you must commence suit.

See Also

  1. Federal Employees' Compensation Act (FECA)
  2. Workers' Compensation - Defense Base Act
  3. Workplace Injuries & Discrimination: Overview
  4. Workers' Compensation: Frequently Asked Questions
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