A review of workers' compensation: the history, Part 2

Worker's compensation, as it is understood today, was passed as part of a long series of laws designed to address worker injury concerns and litigation costs at the turn of the century. As stated in a previous post, worker's compensation was a response to the unwieldy litigation system that companies and employees used to resolve their disputes. Worker's rarely received compensation because, at the time, there was a legal theory known as contributory negligence which effectively blocked most claims. But, companies were still paying thousands in legal claims to fend off these lawsuits.


To help both sides, California and soon the rest of the country, passed a series of laws on what would eventually become known as worker's compensation. The laws required employers to purchase worker's compensation insurance. The insurance policy would cover all employees under an enumerated set of situations. The policies would pay for medical care and replacement wages until the worker returned work in their full capacity. The employer would entirely bear the costs of these insurance policies and could be penalized if they do not secure insurance.

In return, employees agree to waive the right to sue the employer for their injuries. The worker may apply to the employer and their insurer for approval. The employee receives a quicker turnaround on receiving money and higher likelihood his claim would be approved.

If you suffered a workplace injury, you might want to contact a lawyer ? you could have a valid claim for worker's compensation. As you can see, worker's compensation is not a windfall; it is designed to protect you and your family while your income is reduced due to your injury. It can also pay for your medical bills. It is thus critical that your claim is quickly processed and approved. A lawyer can help you receive a smooth approval process and, if necessary, represent you during an appeal.


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