What are workers' compensation benefits?


Quick Answer

Workers' compensation benefits are financial payments made to employees who are injured while at their jobs. Employers are required by law to provide these payments and typically purchase insurance to provide coverage of the costs of benefits.

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Full Answer

Governance of state workers' compensation programs is conducted by each state's workers' compensation office and state requirements differ. Insurance benefits are intended to cover medical expenses, lost wages, survivor's benefits if an employee dies on the job, retraining and benefits for permanent disability or injury compensation. Employees accepting workers' compensation insurance benefits must typically agree not to sue the employer. Benefits are paid regardless of whether the employee or employer caused the injury or illness. Denial of benefits is possible if drug or alcohol use contributed to the accident.

Some employers are not required to participate in the states' workers' compensation program, and their employees must find other arrangements or purchase insurance to cover medical expenses and lost income. Some states allow small companies or particular industries to avoid workers' compensation requirements. Independent contractors, volunteers and business owners are also usually excluded from coverage. Federal government employees are covered by a separate federal program and are exempt from their states' worker's compensation rules.

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