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Workers' compensation basics

The job duties and work environments of U.S. workers are as unique and varied as the personal attributes of workers themselves. While certain industries such as construction and manufacturing are notoriously physical and potentially hazardous, even individuals who spend the majority their work days behind a desk may be exposed to numerous workplace health and safety hazards. 

Regardless of industry or job duties, all workers in the U.S. are protected under state and federal employment laws. These laws help ensure that U.S. employers take measures to protect against unsafe working conditions. However, even with safety measures in place, workplace accidents and injuries still occur.

Regardless of industry or job duties, all workers in the U.S. are protected under state and federal employment laws. These laws help ensure that U.S. employers take measures to protect against unsafe working conditions. However, even with safely measures in place, workplace accidents and injuries still occur. 

In cases where an employee is injured in a work-related accident or suffers injuries as a result of carrying out work-related duties, he or she may file a workers' compensation claim. To help aid against legal action and ensure an injured worker continues to receive compensation while recovering, most U.S. employers are required to carry workers' compensation insurance.

In order to file a workers' compensation claim, an individual must prove that an injury is work-related. It's important, therefore, that a worker reports an injury to his or her employer as soon as possible and complete and file the necessary paperwork to begin the claims process.

Once submitted, an employer's workers' compensation insurance provider will make determinations related to the awarding and amount of compensation. In cases where a worker is denied benefits or disputes the amount of benefits awarded or the time frame for which benefits will be awarded, he or she may file an appeal.

The workers' compensation process can be complex and confusing and it's often beneficial to consult with a legal professional. An attorney who handles workers' compensation claims and appeals will work to ensure that an individual receives just compensation for his or her injuries.

Source: FindLaw.com, "Workers' Comp In-Depth," 2015

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