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What is Workers’ Compensation Law? 

Workers’ compensation law is a system of rules in every state designed to pay the expenses of employees who are harmed while performing job-related duties. Employees can recover lost wages, medical expenses, disability payments, and costs associated with rehabilitation and retraining. The system is administered by the state and financed by mandatory employer contributions. Federal government employees have access to a similar program. 

Employees who are injured on the job are eligible to collect workers' compensation benefits while they recuperate. Although the claim process is intended to be straightforward, there are specific guidelines for determining whether a certain injury or illness qualifies for compensation, and certain procedures must be followed in order to file a proper claim.

This section provides resources to help you understand the basics of workers' compensation law and to help you begin the claim process. You’ll also find articles discussing work-related injuries, articles explaining your rights as an injured worker, and information to help you decide whether hiring an attorney to represent you would be a good idea.

From the employer’s perspective, workers’ compensation eliminates the possibility of litigation that could lead to a large damage award. Even if the employer acts negligently and an employee is hurt or killed, the employer will only be responsible for its ordinary contributions into the system.

In essence, workers’ compensation is an insurance program, made compulsory by the government.

Set Payment Amounts

It's important to keep in mind that workers' compensation benefits are typically capped by law, with the payment amount decreasing over time as the employee heals and begins to resume his or her job duties. 

Benefits

Workers' compensation benefits pay costs associated with medical care, lost wages, and retraining if the injury forces the employee to seek a new position or line of work. Note that workers' compensation payments don't account for any pain and suffering that the injured employee might experience.

Every state provides certain exceptions, allowing workers to bypass the workers’ compensation statutes and file a lawsuit for damages. These include situations in which the employer or a coworker has intentionally caused harm to the worker.
Exceptions may also exist for workers injured by defective products, or exposed to toxic substances. Furthermore, workers are free to file suit against third parties, such as drivers, landowners, and subcontractors. 


How an Attorney Can Help

Although workers' compensation laws are meant to provide injured workers with fast relief, the claim process can nonetheless be complicated and involve time-sensitive deadlines and a great deal of paperwork.

If you've been injured at work and want to file a claim as soon as possible, an attorney can help. This section provides a link for injured employees to consult with an attorney who specializes in workers' compensation law.