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Workers' compensation basics

Workers' compensation benefits are important benefits for injured workers or workers otherwise harmed on the job, and their families, which is why it is important to understand the benefits available. In general, workers' compensation is an insurance program purchased by employers to assist injured employees when they have been harmed on the job such as in a workplace accident or by a workplace illness. In some circumstances, employers may be self insured instead of purchasing insurance.

Most employers are required by the government to carry some time of workers' compensation insurance or carry some type of benefit to provide payments to injured workers' and their families if a worker has suffered an injury on the job or has been killed on the job. Workers' compensation benefits include medical care and treatment from the injury or illness suffered; replacement income subject to certain limits; the costs of job retraining or vocational rehabilitation; compensation for permanent injuries and disability the worker may suffer; and survivors' benefits for family members of workers killed on the job.

Workers' compensation benefits are no-fault benefits which allows workers to receive them even if they were to blame, or partially at-fault, for the accident that injured them. Workers' compensation benefits are available in place of a legal claim for damages so workers are generally unable to bring a lawsuit for damages against their employer but may be able to bring a claim for damages against a negligent third party responsible for the harm they have suffered on the job.

In addition, employers cannot retaliate against a worker for filing a claim for workers' compensation. Though beneficial, workers' compensation benefits may not always be straightforward so it is helpful to understand them and have the proper guidance through the process when necessary following a workplace injury or illness.

Source: Injury.findlaw.com, "Workers' Comp Benefits Explained," Accessed Dec. 8, 2016

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