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Work-related Injuries or Illness and the Benefit of Workers’ Compensation Insurance

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Before employers in the US were mandated by the government to carry a workers’ compensation program in behalf of their employees, the latter had to resort to legal proceedings whenever they sustain work-related injuries. Suing their employers was for the sole purpose of recovering lost wages and future earnings, as well as getting the compensation that will enable them to pay for medical expenses. Majority of the employees, however, did not only lose the case, but the case also damaged their relationship with their employer. To win cases, employers always resorted to the following arguments:

  • Assumption of risk – it stated that the injury was an accepted danger normally connected with the job;
  • The fellow worker rule – that it was a fellow worker’s negligence that caused the injury;
  • Contributory negligence – the injury was due to the negligence of the worker himself/herself

If ever there were occasions when an employee won the case, the compensation would either be delayed or it would be much lesser than the amount stipulated by the law. Thus, the establishment of the workers’ compensation law in 1908 (which initially covered federal employees) started an insurance program that would greatly benefit both employer and employee. Majority of the states began adopting their own version of the program between 1911 and 1920; this insurance program, the oldest in the US, was then mandated on most managers or business owners.

The workers’ compensation insurance benefit is aimed at providing financial assistance to employees who sustain work-related illnesses or injuries. The benefits will cover lost wages, medical, disability [temporary total disability (TTD), temporary partial disability (TPD), healing period, permanent partial disability (PPD), permanent total disability (PTD)], vocational rehabilitation and death.

Though the same benefits may be enjoyed by employees regardless of the state they’re in, there are also differences such as coverage and statute of limitation. In Iowa, for instance, an employee whose work is principally based in Iowa or who is hired in Iowa is entitled to all the benefits even if the injury was sustained somewhere else; this is one relevant information mentioned on one of the web pages of LaMarca & Landry, P.C., a law office based in the same state. The page also mentions that the employee ought to inform his / her employer of the injury within 90 days after it was sustained.

Though the workers’ compensation program provides workers with guaranteed benefits (the amount of compensation employees ought to receive cannot be lower even if the injury is due to their own fault) and removes the burden of time- consuming and costly proceedings, there are times when an application gets denied due either to the worker’s failure to fill out the forms correctly and completely or file the application on time. If denied of the compensation benefit or if the amount you receive is lesser than what you believe it ought to be, it would be good if you will seek the assistance of a workers’ compensation attorney, as this will make the processing of application much clearer and faster for you.

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