Workers’ compensation can help workers that have been disabled on the job by providing supplementary income during the time that the employee is unable to work and medical benefits to cover any expenses incurred because of the injury. When an employee accepts workers’ compensation, the right to sue the employer is being waived in exchange for these benefits. Workers’ compensation is available in many countries, and in every state in the United States. There may be slight differences in workers’ compensation laws, regulations, and benefits from state to state.
Privatization of Workers’ Compensation
Workers’ compensation details are decided upon by each individual state. In West Virginia and Nevada, workers’ compensation has been completely privatized. This means that privately owned insurance companies sell workers’ compensation policies to businesses. In the event of a workers’ compensation claim, the insurance company pays the employee’s benefits. In most cases, the insurance company will raise the premium that the business pays after each workers’ compensation claim. Most other states rely mainly on privatization for workers’ compensation, but still have some state-run programs.
There are certain workers that are covered under programs other than the workers’ compensation insurance that is available in the state. Federal employees are covered by the Department of Labor’s Office of Workers’ Compensation programs. These employees are guaranteed to be provided medical treatment, wage replacement, and occupational rehabilitation in the event of an injury. Other benefits may be available, depending on the case. Longshore harbor workers, energy employees affected by nuclear exposure, and employees that have developed black lung are covered under programs called by the respective names rather than standard workers’ compensation.
Learn more about Florida Employment and Labor Laws.
History of Workers’ Compensation
In the United States, Maryland was the first state to pass statewide workers’ compensation laws in 1902. Federal workers were covered under a law that was passed in 1906. By 1950, all fifty states had some form of workers’ compensation laws in place. At that time, it was called workmans’ compensation, but the name has since been slightly altered to avoid the gender implication.
Most states require that employers purchase workers’ compensation insurance to protect workers. Each state has a board that supervises both the public and private sectors of workers’ compensation systems. In Texas, there is an antiquated law allowing employers to choose whether or not the business will purchase the workers’ compensation insurance. However, choosing not to carry the insurance leaves the employer vulnerable to legal action by employees if injuries do occur. If employers decide to disobey laws and not carry workers’ compensation insurance, most states have public accounts that can be used to assist injured workers. However, the employer may be subject to legal retribution by either the employee or the state.
Variances in States’ Workers’ Compensation Laws
Workers’ compensation can vary quite a bit from state to state. In some states, the employer is not liable for any monetary compensation above and beyond the basic medical bills and wage compensation. In other states an employer may be liable for additional monetary compensation if it is determined that there was a clear case of negligence. If an employee is injured while on the job due to a faulty product or service that was supplied by a different entity, the employee may be able to sue the entity that created the product or completed the service. In some cases, the employee may still receive medical and wage compensation from the employer’s workers’ compensation insurance.
Cases of Fraud
Fraud can be committed by either an employee or an employer. Billions of dollars are paid every year to employees that have filed false claims or committed other acts of fraud. Employees can commit fraud by faking injuries that are non-existent, exaggerating injuries that have occurred, pretending that healed injuries are still painful, or falsely proclaiming that existing injuries were incurred on the job.
Employers typically commit fraud in order to lower insurance premiums. This type of fraud is committed by the employer understating the amount of money that employees are paid or stating that employees have more experience than is actual to seem less risky. In some cases, employers commit fraud by failing to purchase workers’ compensation altogether. All types of fraud are subject to prosecution.
Using Workers’ Compensation
Workers’ compensation is used if an employee suffers an injury while working or acquires an injury from doing repetitive work due to the requirements of the job. The employee should report any injury to the employer as soon as possible, to avoid time restrictions on workers’ compensation claims. After notifying the employer, the employee should seek medical attention. It is very important that the employee notifies the medical center that the injury occurred at work.
Orlando Workers’ Compensation Lawyers
Employees may want to contact a workers’ compensation lawyer after seeking medical attention, for guidance through the proper procedures for filing a workers’ compensation claim. A workers’ compensation lawyer will be knowledgeable about exactly what benefits the employee is entitled to, and will be able to educate the injured employee. An Orlando workers compensation lawyer will also be able to make recommendations about other avenues that may be available, such as suing entities other than the employer that were involved in causing the injury.
“Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs.” United States Department of Labor. United States Department of Labor, n.d. Web. 13 Sep 2013. <http://www.dol.gov/owcp/>.
“Workers’ Compensation Fraud.” State of New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development. State of New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development, n.d. Web. 13 Sep 2013. <http://lwd.dol.state.nj.us/labor/wc/legal/fraud.html>.
“Workers’ Compensation-The Workers’ Comp Compliance Center.” WorkersCompensation.com. WorkersCompensation.com, LLC, 12 Sep 2013. Web. 13 Sep 2013. <http://www.workerscompensation.com/>.