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Managing Workers’ Compensation: A Guide to Injury Reduction and Effective Claim Management



  • Format: PDF
  • Publisher: ‎ CRC Press; 1st edition (December 7, 2000)
  • Language: ‎ English
  • 312 pages
  • ISBN-10: ‎ 1566703484
  • ISBN-13: ‎ 978-1566703482

Workers’ compensation — the words alone are enough to elicit a reaction, and too often it is a negative one. From the outset, that negative connotation challenges all who are involved with the system. Consider, for example, the following statements and compare them to your own involvement with workers’ compensation insurance: It is unpleasant and inconvenient, a business expense and not a profit maker. Many cases are antagonistic — either between the injured employee and the employer, or between the injured employee and the insurance provider, or between the employer and the insurance provider, or between all parties. An injury has occurred and somebody is literally in pain. The company’s safety record and insurance rating will be tarnished. Processing the claim only means more work for the individual charged with this responsibility. Factor in the rising costs of medical services and it’s easy to see how workers’ compensation becomes an object of discontent.

As is the case with so many other legislative efforts and programs, which are initiated with noble intent, it’s not supposed to be this way. Overall, the purpose of workers’ compensation insurance has been to minimize the financial impact on the employee and the employer that may be incurred as the result of occupational injuries. Some will argue that since its inception, workers’ compensation legislation has been politically swayed by labor, by management, and even by the insurance industry. The current situation appears to be one in which no one is satisfied. Those issues are not addressed in this text. Instead, proven methods of “making the best” of the current situation are discussed.

The workers’ compensation system revolves around the concept that the employer agrees to pay for all injuries to employees regardless of fault, and, in turn, the employee agrees to give up his or her right to sue the employer in relation to an on-the-job injury. This concept is based on the opinion that society has a moral responsibility to care for workers injured at work and their families.

One of the things that make it difficult to generalize about workers’ compensation is that it is a state-based system. For almost any possible statement about workers’ compensation, one can find a state that does things differently. As a result, most generalizations about workers’ compensation have exceptions. However, the key elements common to almost all states are

• All work-related injuries and illnesses must be compensated, regardless of fault.

• Compensation is limited to

• medical costs,

• indemnity payments, which can take the form of temporary disability payments or permanent disability payments,

• rehabilitation, and

• defined death benefits.

• One of the major limitations of workers’ compensation is that the system does not allow payment for pain and suffering nor may workers receive punitive damages from their employers.

• Since it is a state-based system, rules can vary among states.


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