Workers compensation, also known as workers comp or workman's comp, is a widely used form of insurance in the United States that provides, at a minimum, medical treatment and time loss benefits for workers who are injured in the course of their employment. In return, the employee relinquishes their right to sue his or her employer for any liability or negligence for the injury.
This no–fault system guarantees coverage for the worker and limits the employer's exposure for an employee's on the job injury. Workers Compensation laws require that all employees be covered by industrial insurance.
Workers compensation claims may include: regular payments for a portion of lost wages, compensation for economic loss (including future damages), and payment for all approved medical expenses, which functions as the primary form of health insurance for an injured worker. If an employee is killed on the job, dependents are eligible for death benefits, similar to life insurance.
General damages or punitive damages are not generally compensable in workers compensation claims. Therefore, a claimant will not receive payment for pain, suffering, and inconvenience resulting from their on the job injuries as a claimant would be entitled to in other types of tort claims such as motor vehicle accidents, medical malpractice, or product liability claims.
Workers compensation laws vary from state to state. There are also special protections afforded to employees injured working for railroad companies, on boats, coalminers, nuclear energy workers, longshoremen, or harbor workers. These claims are not administered by state labor agencies as seen with more typical on the job injuries.
There may also be special exceptions for certain types of on the job injuries. For example, a construction worker injured on the job, may be able to bring a negligence claim when there are different contractors involved in the project. Be sure to contact an attorney who specializes in on the job injuries to discuss the particulars of your case.