The first question you should ask is an obvious one: What are workers compensation laws and what is their purpose?
Simply put, the workers compensation system offers an efficient process for getting an injured worker back to the workforce as soon as possible.
In insurance parlance, workers compensation is a "no-fault" system.
Before worker's compensation laws were passed, there was a lot of arguing about who was at fault. Employers blamed employees, and, visa versa, employees blamed employers.
The stakes were high because there were no limits on the damages a worker could ask for in the courts. The only winners were the lawyers. Companies went broke, and employees failed to get the medical attention they needed and deserved.
Wisconsin was the first state to implement workers compensation legislation. That happened in 1911. Today, every single state has some form of a workers compensation system in place.
That's right. It's the states that define workers compensation rules, although there are some federal regulations as well. That means that whatever you read and learn about workers compensation should be looked at through the lens of your state's rules. Is it applicable to your state or not?
Don't assume that what's true for Wyoming is true for Iowa. This is the reason that local workers compensation attorneys tend to be very busy folks. It's hard for a novice to figure out all the rules, and there's a lot of grey area in the interpretation of the rules.
But the common denominator is that provide specific benefits to injured workers regardless of who was at fault for the injury.
As long as the injury arises out of and in the course of employment, then the injured worker will likely be entitled to certain benefits.
So, now you understand the basics of workers compensation.
Believe it or not, many business owners make the mistake of never truly understanding workers compensation.
By learning about why workers compensation exists, you are now in a better position to minimize lost-time claims at your shop and lower your workers compensation insurance premiums.