How Does Workers’ Compensation Work?

Workers’ compensation allows injured employees to get medical treatment and a portion of their wages back after they are hurt on the job. Both employees and employers have many responsibilities under the program.

General Information

Workers’ compensation is an insurance program that covers employees for injuries and illnesses that result from their job. Each state has its own rules regarding when and how an employer can obtain workers’ compensation insurance.

The program provides medical care for employees who sustain work-related injuries or illnesses. Employees who are injured receive a portion of their wages, depending on the state’s rules. States can also set their own rates of compensation for employees who lose a family member, become permanently disabled or die as a result a work-related accident.

Workers’ compensation is an insurance program that covers all aspects of workers’ compensation. This means that the employee who has been injured does not need to prove negligence to be compensated. The employee can not sue his employer for the injuries he or she has sustained.

Employers who are covered

Each state has its own rules about when an employer can purchase this insurance. Some states have a minimum number of employees an employer must have to be eligible for workers’ compensation insurance. Some states require workers’ comp if an employer has more than one employee.

States can also exclude certain industries. A state might exclude certain industries from coverage, such as seasonal workers, domestic workers, or agricultural workers. These workers may be able to make a claim under the tort theory of liability if they are hurt on the job. However, they would not be eligible for workers’ compensation. Independent contractors are often excluded.

Protected Injuries

Workers’ compensation is designed to provide workers with financial assistance for work-related injuries. Some states expand this definition to cover work-related illnesses. Some states allow only certain illnesses to be covered.

A work-related injury does not necessarily have to be due to one incident. A worker’s compensation claim may be filed if there are repeated stress injuries or illnesses that result from prolonged exposure to chemicals in the workplace.

These programs do not require employees to be present at work. Workers’ compensation might cover injuries sustained while performing work-related tasks at the request of their employer. Workers who get hurt while driving to work are not generally considered work-related accidents.

Some states also allow employers to administer a drug and alcohol test following an accident. If the employee fails, the employer will be held liable. Workers’ compensation does not cover intentional acts or self-inflicted injury.


The type of injury and state requirements will determine the types of benefits available to injured workers. Workers’ compensation can include compensation for permanent injuries, vocational rehabilitation, and survivors’ benefits.

The state laws vary in how the medical providers assigned to a case. Employers can send an injured worker to any medical provider they choose. Some states, however, allow injured workers to see their own healthcare providers provided they request it.

Claims Process

Employers and employees both have certain obligations under the workers’ comp system. Workers’ compensation insurance is required for employers. You can either purchase the insurance through an insurance broker or self-insure. Employers who fail to have the required coverage can face a fine and a lawsuit from employees.

Employers that are injured must inform their employer. The employer may require that the employee complete a form. Employees who fail to report injuries within a specified time frame may lose their right to benefits. Employers might also have to give employees fact sheets or leaflets about their rights and responsibilities. The state agency responsible for managing workers’ compensation can be contacted if the employee is unsure about his or her rights and responsibilities.

Updated 01/18/22