Worker's Compensation Law
Non-military federal workers and others employed through some significant manner in interstate commerce have their own workers’ comp program, which was established by the Federal Employment Compensation Act and is administered by the federal government. Workers Compensation Acts exist at state level allowing each state to create individual programs and statutes for the protection of injured and ill workers by establishing employer liability and requiring insurance for illnesses or injuries which are due to the workers’ employment while performing their work duties. This insurance is absolute liability for medical care, rehabilitation and retraining costs, a percentage of salary or lost wages, and when applicable, payment for permanent injures, normally determined by an evaluation of the imposed limitations. It is not based on negligence by the employer, but generally the accident must have occurred at the employee’s place of work and must have arisen directly from the employment in order to be eligible.
Workers’ Compensation laws are not uniform, as each of the states determines their own rehabilitation procedures, payment schedules and employee eligibility requirements. And because employers may contest workers’ comp claims when they deem it necessary, most states have established an administrative hearing system with quasi-judicial proceedings presided over by administrative law judges (ALJ) for these disputes and appeals boards for the ALJ decisions. The appellate board decisions may further be appealed to the state court system.
Workers may not “double-dip” when it comes to work-related injuries or illnesses. If an employee receives workers’ compensation, he may not sue the employer for damages in civil court as well, nor does he receive any damages for pain and suffering under workers’ compensation. If a worker believes the employer was negligent and wants to sue for other damages, he must waive workers’ compensation to do so. However, if there is a third party who contributed to the injured worker’s damages, the employee may sue the third party, even if he’s already receiving workers’ comp. Though, these damages may be subject to a lien by the workers’ compensation insurance company for the benefits that they have paid to him.
Workers' Compensation Definition
Workers’ Comp, is a system of state-mandated insurance programs designed to ensure that employees who are injured, become ill or disabled in the course of employment are reimbursed for damages, eliminating the need for litigation. These laws also provide benefits for dependents of those workers who are killed because of work-related accidents or illnesses. In most states, workers’ compensation insurance is provided only by private insurance companies, although some states operate a state fund, and a small minority has state-owned monopolies.
The federal government administers a workers' compensation program, through the Federal Employment Compensation Act, for non-military federal employees or other workers employed in some significant aspect of interstate commerce. States, through Workers Compensation Acts, each have their own laws and programs for workers' compensation. These statutes establish liability of employers for their injured workers and require insurance to protect the worker, when the injury or illness occurs in the course of their work duties and is due to their employment. Worker's compensation is not based on negligence of the employer, but is absolute liability for medical coverage, a percentage of lost wages or salary, costs of rehabilitation and retraining, and payment for any permanent injury (usually based on an evaluation of limitation). In most cases the employer is not liable for accidents occurring outside the place of work, or for those which have not arisen directly from employment.
Through the Workers' Compensation Acts, each state determines its own system’s payment schedules, employee eligibility requirements, and rehabilitation procedures. Some employers contest their employees’ workers’ compensation claims. Most states provide for a system of hearings and quasi-judicial determinations by administrative law judges for these disputes. Appeals may be taken to an appeals board and from there into the state court system.
If worker's' compensation is granted, it becomes the only remedy against an employer and does not include general damages for pain and suffering. Therefore, if an injured worker wants to seek other damages caused by an employer's actual negligence, he/she may waive workers' compensation and sue the employer. If a third party contributed to the damages, the injured worker may sue that party for damages even though he/she receives workers' compensation, but recovery may be subject to a lien for moneys paid out by the workers' compensation insurance company.
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Workers Compensation Law - US
- ABA - Workers Compensation and Employers Liability Law Committee
Workers compensation is a very important field of the law, if not the most important. It touches more lives than any other field of the law. It involves the payments of huge sums of money. The welfare of human beings, the success of business, and the pocketbooks of consumers are affected daily by it.
- Black Lung Benefits Act
The Black Lung Benefits Act (BLBA) is administered by the Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs (OWCP). The Act provides for monthly payments to and medical treatment for coal miners totally disabled from pneumoconiosis (black lung disease) arising from employment in or around the nation's coal mines.
- Division of Coal Mine Workers' Compensation (DCMWC)
The mission of the Division of Coal Mine Workers' Compensation, or Federal Black Lung Program, is to administer claims filed under the Black Lung Benefits Act. The Act provides compensation to coal miners who are totally disabled by pneumoconiosis arising out of coal mine employment, and to survivors of coal miners whose deaths are attributable to the disease. The Act also provides eligible miners with medical coverage for the treatment of lung diseases related to pneumoconiosis.
- Division of Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation (DEEOIC)
The Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program (EEOICP) began on July 31, 2001 with the Department of Labor’s implementation of Part B; Part E implementation began on October 28, 2004. The mission of the program is to provide lump-sum compensation and health benefits to eligible Department of Energy nuclear weapons workers (including employees, former employees, contractors and subcontractors) and lump-sum compensation to certain survivors if the worker is deceased.
- Division of Federal Employees' Compensation (DFEC)
The Federal Employees' Compensation Act provides workers' compensation coverage to three million federal and postal workers around the world for employment-related injuries and occupational diseases.
- Division of Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation (DLHWC)
The mission of DLHWC is to minimize the impact of employment injuries and deaths on employees and their families by ensuring that workers' compensation benefits provided under the Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act and it extensions (including the Defense Base Act) are paid promptly and properly, and providing information, technical and compliance assistance, support, and informal dispute resolution services to workers, employers, and insurers.
- Federal Employees’ Compensation Act (FECA)
The Federal Employees’ Compensation Act (FECA), 5 USC Chapter 81, provides compensation benefits to Federal employees for work-related injuries or illnesses, and to their surviving dependents if a work-related injury or illness results in the employee’s death. The FECA is administered by the Department of Labor, Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs (OWCP). The 12 OWCP district offices adjudicate the claims and pay benefits, and the costs of those benefits are charged back to the employing agency.
- Occupational Safety and Health Organization
You have the right to a safe workplace. The Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 (OSHAct) was passed to prevent workers from being killed or seriously harmed at work. The law requires that employers provide their employees with working conditions that are free of known dangers. The Act created the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), which sets and enforces protective workplace safety and health standards.
- Office of Workers' Compensation Programs - USDOL
The Office of Workers' Compensation Programs administers four major disability compensation programs which provide wage replacement benefits, medical treatment, vocational rehabilitation and other benefits to certain workers or their dependents who experience work-related injury or occupational disease.
- Safety, Health and Return-to-Employment (SHARE) Initiative
The Safety, Health and Return to Employment (SHARE) initiative was launched in 2004 with the purpose of reducing occupational injuries, illnesses and fatalities within the Federal government. The initiative was scheduled to run for three years, and established four goals in the critical areas of safety, health and injury case management.
- Workers Compensation - Overview
Workers' Compensation laws are designed to ensure that employees who are injured or disabled on the job are provided with fixed monetary awards, eliminating the need for litigation. These laws also provide benefits for dependents of those workers who are killed because of work-related accidents or illnesses. Some laws also protect employers and fellow workers by limiting the amount an injured employee can recover from an employer and by eliminating the liability of co-workers in most accidents. State Workers Compensation statutes establish this framework for most employment. Federal statutes are limited to federal employees or those workers employed in some significant aspect of interstate commerce.
- Workers Compensation -Insurance Information Institute
Workers compensation systems vary from state to state. State statutes and court decisions control many aspects, including the handling of claims, the evaluation of impairment and settlement of disputes, the amount of benefits injured workers receive and the strategies used to control costs. As part of the social contract embedded in each state’s law, the employee gives up the right to sue the employer for injuries caused by the employer’s negligence.
- Workers Compensation and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990
This enforcement guidance concerns the interaction between Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) and state workers compensation laws. The purpose of the former is to prohibit employers from discriminating against qualified individuals because of disability, while the purpose of the latter is to provide a system for securing prompt and fair settlement of employees' claims for occupational injury and illness. The purposes of the two laws are not in conflict, yet their simultaneous application has raised many questions.
- Workers Compensation Research Institute
The Workers Compensation Research Institute is an independent, not-for-profit research organization providing high-quality, objective information about public policy issues involving workers' compensation systems. Organized in late 1983, the Institute does not take positions on the issues it researches; rather, it provides information obtained through studies and data collection efforts, which conform to recognized scientific methods. Objectivity is further ensured through rigorous, unbiased peer review procedures.
- Workers Compensation Resources — AFL-CIO
The American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) is a voluntary federation of 56 national and international labor unions, representing 10.5 million members. This site is a valuable source of information about the benefits available through workers compensation in each state. The AFL-CIO periodically updates a wealth of relevant resources.
Workers Compensation Boards by State
Organizations Related to Workers Compensation
- National Association of Workers’ Compensation Judiciary, Inc. (NAWCJ)
he National Association of Workers’ Compensation Judiciary, Inc. (NAWCJ) is a non-profit organization designed to provide educational opportunities exclusively for the workers’ compensation judiciary at the trial or appellate level. Designed to enhance justice within the workers’ compensation system, regardless of state or jurisdiction, the association is coordinated and overseen by members of the judiciary directly responsible for the adjudication of workers’ compensation matters.
- Professionals in Workers Compensation (PWC)
Professionals in Workers Compensation (PWC) is a progressive organization of professionals from many fields and disciplines that play an integral role in workers compensation. Its goal is to provide quality educational and skill-building programs by creating opportunities for networking and learning. It also serves as a venue for establishing and maintaining relationships that engender a respectful view of the common goals and challenges faced by those in the workers compensation field.
Publications Related to Workers Compensation Law
- Papers on Workers Compensation - National Academy of Social Insurance
Six papers on workers compensation and its interaction with the Social Security Disability Insurance program were published in the Social Security Bulletin in Vol. 65 No. 4 (May 2005). The papers grew out of the seminar, “Interaction of Workers' Compensation and Social Security Disability Insurance,” co-sponsored by the National Academy of Social Insurance (NASI) and the Social Security Administration.
Articles on HG.org Related to Workers Compensation Law
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- Florida Firefighter Wins Workers’ Compensation Benefits BattleEmployees can suffer all kinds of injuries while working. If you were injured at work, it is important to speak to a workers compensation lawyer about your legal rights and options.
- Balancing it Out - Family and Employment - MaltaThe recent increase in maternity leave has created strong views, unsurprisingly divided into two broad categories: those who insist that the increase of the maternity leave to 18 weeks was essential and inevitable, and those who feel that the extended maternity leave will prove to be too much of a financial burden for the employer.
- Oklahoma Workers Compensation Reform in 2013Missouri law requires most employers to carry insurance, which pays for medical treatment and lost time benefits for employees who are injured on the job. The law requires prompt payment of benefits at no cost to you if you sustain a work-related injury covered under the law.
- 2013 California Employment LawsIn September 2012, California Governor Jerry Brown enacted a number of laws relating to employment law. It is important that employers are familiar with the changes in order to ensure compliance. The following list includes that changes made which, unless stated otherwise, will go into effect January 1, 2013.
- Federal Worker Claiming Employer Failed to Make a Reasonable Accommodation Must Have Requested One, Case FindsThe failure of an employer to make a reasonable accommodation is a form of prohibited discrimination under the Rehabilitation Act.
- The Advantages of Federal Disability RetirementSome federal employees may view Federal Disability Retirement with trepidation. These remain tough economic times and there are understandable concerns that you won’t be able to make up your former income after retirement.
- All Employment and Labor Law Related Articles
Articles written by attorneys and experts worldwide discussing legal aspects related to Employment and Labor including: discrimination, employee benefits, employees rights, ERISA, human resources law, labor relations, outsourcing, sexual harassment, whistleblower, workers compensation and wrongful termination.