Workers’ Compensation is a system designed to compensate workers injured on the job without regard to fault. Essentially, there are two types of benefits an injured worker may receive under workers’ compensation: 1) partial wage replacement, and 2) necessary medical treatment.
Workers’ compensation law differs drastically from other types of civil liability in that the injured worker may not seek compensation for damaged personal property or pain and suffering. The original reasoning for this favored the injured worker. Before there were any types of workers’ compensation laws, the injured worker had to prove that their employers were guilty of committing a tort, most commonly negligence.
One major problem was that this afforded the employer what are known as “common law defenses” which could include the employees assumption of the risk and their own contributory negligence. Some studies at the turn of the century revealed that 80% of the time, factors other than the employers negligence were the cause of the accident and resulting injury. This meant that only about 20% of injured workers were getting compensated for work place injuries. The resulting thought process was that since industry was causing these injuries, industry should pay for them as part of the costs of doing business.
This created a “nofault” system of law. What that means is that the employers or their insurance carrier must provide benefits to the injured worker, regardless of fault. The downside of the law is that in exchange for the employer guaranteeing benefits, the law would grant them immunity to common law tort actions. Thus, getting rid of damages such as pain and suffering. This does not mean that you are without recourse. Determining and calculating possible benefits is a complex process.
We would love to discuss your case and explain courses of action you may have when presented with this confusing and difficult scenario. This is why it is important to hire a workers’ compensation attorney who handles these types of situations and knows what your entitled to. If you or someone you know is in this situation, please give us a call at (877) 817-4127.