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Worker’s Compensation Basics

No Fault System

In every state, workers' compensation is a benefit system designed to be "no fault," meaning it is irrelevant whether your employer's negligence (carelessness) contributed to your work-related injury or occupational disease. What matters is that you were involved in a workplace injury or suffered an occupational disease in the course of your employment. Additionally, in most circumstances, an employee's own negligence will not prevent that employee from getting workers' compensation benefits. (If you have questions about whether your behavior leading to your work-related injury might preclude your eligibility for a workers' compensation claim, talk to a workers' compensation attorney in your area.)

The no-fault system was designed to protect both workers and employers. It was designed to protect employers from expensive and time-consuming lawsuits, and to protect employees by ensuring medical care and time off benefits.


Recovery is the amount of money or reimbursement for medical treatment that you will receive for your injury. Because of the no-fault system, your recovery is limited. Since you cannot file a lawsuit, you cannot get punitive damages (money awarded to punish your employer). However, workers' compensation benefits can be substantial, depending on the state you live in. Washington, for example, is very generous to injured workers. Texas and California, on the other hand, are not as generous with workers' compensation benefits.

Workers' compensation benefits include lost wages, medical bill reimbursement, and disability benefits. Workers' compensation injury benefits can also include death benefits if a worker is killed on the job.

Talk to an Attorney First

Worker's compensation lawsuits can be complicated; you should consult a lawyer experienced in worker's compensation and job-related injuries in order to determine the best course of action for receiving the compensation you deserve.

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