Workers’ compensation, colloquially referred to in the United States as workers’ comp, is a form of insurance that provides compensatory medical care for employees who are injured while doing their job. In exchange for workers’ compensation, the employee relinquishes his or her right to sue his or her employer for the tort of negligence.
The tradeoff between assured, limited coverage and a lack of recourse outside the compensation system is known as the “compensation bargain.” The plans offered to workers vary by jurisdiction or state but there are a variety of provisions made for an injured worker. Weekly payments in place of wages, which functions as a form of disability insurance, can be arranged.
In addition, there are options available for past and future economic loss, reimbursement or payment of medical and other expenses, and benefits payable to the dependents of workers killed during employment, like life insurance.
In exchange for these guaranteed payments, an injured employee gives up his or her right to sue for negligence. In addition, there are not general damages for pain and suffering available. Punitive damages for employer negligence are also not available under workers’ compensation plans.
Laws for employees’ compensation are typically a feature of highly developed industrial societies. They are frequently implemented after long and hard-fought battles between trade unions and employers. Supporters of these programs believe that the programs improve working conditions and provide an economic safety net for employees. On the flip side, the programs are often criticized for removing or restricting worker’ common-law rights in order to reduce governments’ or insurance companies’ financial liability.
If you have been injured while on the job at a company that does not have workers’ compensation insurance, contact the Lake Geneva personal injury lawyers of Habush Habush & Rottier S.C. ® at 1-800-275-1729.