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Workers' Rights - Compensation For Work-related Injuries And Illnesses

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If a person is injured on the job or becomes ill because of the work environment, he or she will likely come in contact with the workers' compensation program, which is familiarly known as "workers' comp." Workers' comp is an insurance program that pays compensation to injured workers for their lost wage-earning capability. It also pays workers' medical and rehabilitation expenses and provides benefits for dependents of workers who are killed on the job.

This program is financed primarily by insurance premiums paid by employers. Both workers and employers benefit from this program. Workers receive compensation in the event they are injured and unable to work. Employers benefit because the program makes the costs of workers' compensation a predictable business expense that can be included in production costs. Each state administers its own workers' comp program.

For workers' comp to apply, there must be an "injury by accident." Generally, the accident must occur when the person is working. The injured worker and the workers' comp insurance company, or state insurance fund, try to reach a settlement. If they cannot, there is an appeal process. Many states have a payment schedule that specifies definite amounts for particular injuries. In most cases, workers' comp will pay a worker a weekly amount equal to a percentage of his or her average weekly pay, up to a maximum set by law.

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