Workplace injuries became more common with the industrial jobs’ rapid growth in the early 20th century. The danger of working in factories, with hazardous conditions and heavy machinery, became more apparent during this period. To compensate the workers who sustained and suffered from these injuries, a system was needed to be established. It led the way to the making of the worker's compensation – the United States’s oldest insurance program.


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What’s Worker's compensation? It’s an insurance program type that insures employees for injuries and illnesses that arise out of their jobs. Employers must acquire such insurance as mandated by the state. It’s essential to note that each state establishes varying rules for Worker's compensation.

In this post, you’ll learn more about how Worker's compensation cases work. Read on below.


Filing A Worker's Compensation Claim

Under the Worker's compensation system, both employees and employers have several obligations. Employers are required to have Worker's compensation insurance. A lawsuit may be filed against the employers if they fail to carry the necessary coverage. They can also be fined by the government. Employers can carry Worker's compensation insurance through self-insurance or by buying the insurance from a state-registered insurance broker.

Pamphlets or fact sheets distribution may also be required from employers to let employees know about their rights and responsibilities. However, workers can also contact the state agency that’s responsible for administering the Worker's comp program if ever they’re confused about their rights or responsibilities.

On the other hand, injured employers need to report their sustained injuries to their employers. A form can be filled out and submitted to the employer to report the injuries. Employees should keep in mind that each state has a statute of limitations on worker's comp claims. That means they have to report the sustained injuries within a certain time period or lose their right to receive benefits.


Worker's Compensation Benefits For Employees

A predetermined level of compensation is provided to employees who are hurt at their workplace through the Worker's compensation program. In case of death, their families will receive compensation. The removal of the need to deal with a lawsuit or the costly and burdensome process of litigation is the main benefit of such a program. 

The idea of exclusive remedy or guaranteed benefits is the basis of Worker's compensation. In case of disability or injury, injured employees give up most rights to take legal action against employers in exchange for clearly defined injury-based benefits. Also, employers aren’t allowed to provide lesser compensation if an employee is proven negligent or liable as part of the bargain.

Most Worker's compensation programs repay most of the lost earnings, pay for medical expenses, provide vocational rehabilitation, or pay for the employees’ loss of future earnings. Injured workers receive cash benefits for missed time at work after three to seven days. They also receive immediate compensation for medical expenses. On the other hand, funeral costs are generally paid when a worker is killed.


Who Are The Covered Employees?

As already mentioned, each state has a different rule for Worker's compensation. For instance, each state creates its own parameters as to when employers must acquire Worker's compensation insurance. Some even have an established rule regarding the minimum number of workers that an employer has to officially employ before they can be required to buy such insurance. Others require employers to acquire such insurance as long as they have employees.

Note that certain industries are also excluded from coverage by some states. Seasonal workers, domestic workers, and agricultural workers are usually the ones who get excluded. Such individuals may still file a claim when they’re injured on the job. However, the claim won’t be under the Worker's compensation program. Most states also exclude independent contractors from the coverage.


How Long Does A Worker's Compensation Case Settlement Take?

The time it takes for a Worker's compensation case to settle depends on various factors, including the time it takes for the worker to receive their maximum medical benefit from their treatment, whether the insurance provider disputes the employee’s injury rating and the severity of the injuries. Normally, a Worker's compensation settles after several weeks up to two years.


Final Thoughts

On average, injured employees recover a third more in compensation when they have legal representation than individuals who try to handle their case themselves. That being said, while it’s true that a Worker's compensation case can take longer to resolve when working with a lawyer, it’s still best to seek legal advice for work injuries

Workers who got injured in their workplace should keep in mind that resolving any case that involves Worker's compensation is a delicate balance of acting quickly and effectively. A Worker's compensation attorney can help employees approach their case in the best way possible while taking the Worker's interests into account.