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What is workers' compensation?
A system of statues enacted by each state that provides medical, lost time and permanent disability benefits for employees hurt in the scope of their employment.

Who thought up the workers' compensation system we have?
State legislatures enacted the workers’ comp system. Employees gave up their rights to sue and potentially win awards in court. Employers gave up their common law defenses in exchange for limits on their liabilities.

Is every worker covered by workers' compensation?
For all practical purposes, all workers are covered.

Why can't I sue my employer directly?
Employees give up their right to sue employers directly in exchange for assured benefits. Employees don't have to prove negligence or freedom from contributory negligence in order to collect benefits.

Can a worker sue someone other than the employer if another party is even partially at fault?
Injured employees can sue negligent third parties in common law civil suits if they are the cause of the accidental injury. An example would be an accident involving a trucker whose work truck is hit by an automobile. The trucker would have a workers’ comp claim against his employers' insurance carrier and a third party negligence suit against the automobile driver.

Are there any types of business not required to have workers' compensation insurance or must all employers have insurance?
For all practical purposes, all businesses have to provide workers’ comp coverage.

What if a person is self-employed and is injured working? Who covers work injuries then?
Self-employed individuals can purchase workers’ comp coverage on themselves.

Do employers have to provide coverage for independent contractors?
Independent contractors aren’t employees and aren’t covered by workers’ comp statues. It’s a very fact-specific issue, and the injured person who’s claiming that he is an employee may need legal counsel to make his case.

What happens if an employer doesn't have any insurance and I am injured? How will my injuries be covered?
Your injuries may be covered by directly filing a claim against the employer, individually naming the owner. Many states award penalties against uninsured employers.

As a new hire, wasn't my employer required to inform me about their workers' compensation program?
They did not. - Most states require that the name of the workers’ comp carrier and a synopsis of the states' workers’ comp laws are to be posted in a visible place, such as near a time clock. Employers generally are not required to specifically advise employees of workers’ comp information. Employers who have employee handbooks usually describe their workers’ comp policy information.

Who continues covering and paying benefits to injured workers if an insurance company goes bankrupt?
States have guarantee funds that take over benefits when an carrier goes bankrupt. Sometimes new insurance carriers purchase and take over a bankrupt carrier’s claims.

Does my employer have any control over what the insurance company will approve or pay for relating to my injury?
Usually the insurance carrier has discretion over claims handling. At settlement time, some workers’ comp policies require that the employer be contacted for input on settlement offers.

What, if any, difference exists between short-term disability insurance my company offers and workers' compensation?
Short-term disability benefits pay for non-occupational conditions such as sickness. Workers’ comp benefits are for occupational conditions.

What, if any, difference exists between long-term disability insurance and workers' compensation?
Long-term disability benefits pay for non-occupational conditions. WC benefits are for occupational benefits.

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Workers Compensation Insurance Frequently Asked Questions
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