Living with Chronic Pain

Workers’ Compensation in the United States


What is Workers’ Compensation?

Workers’ compensation, often referred to as workers’ comp, is accident insurance for employees that is paid for and provided by an employer. It pays both medical expenses and offers wage compensation to workers who are injured during the course of their employment. Benefits from workers’ compensation are also paid to dependents should a death occur due to a workplace injury. Each employer’s plan differs on how wage compensation is paid to the employee or dependent(s) in the event of a death. In exchange for these benefits, the worker relinquishes the right to sue the employer for negligence. Payment for pain and suffering is commonly not obtainable with workers’ comp benefits.

What are common workplace injuries?

The most common workplace injuries include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Slips
  • Falls
  • Injuries sustained from improper physical handling of items
  • Upper limb injuries
  • Back injuries
What is the impact of workplace injuries?

An estimated 300 million injuries happen annually in the workplace. Work-related injuries cost billions of dollars annually through direct medical costs, loss of work time and loss of compensation to the injured. Men account for 90 percent of all workplace injuries.

What occurs at an initial appointment for a workers’ compensation injury?

A healthcare professional should obtain a written medical history, perform a physical exam and order any needed diagnostic testing. Providers should determine if the injury is preexisting or directly related to an injury sustained at the workplace. Treatment should be customized according to the specific injury.

What should employers do to minimize workplace injuries?

Employers should provide safety training, risk assessment, protective equipment, safety barriers and safety mechanisms to reduce workplace injuries. Any incident should be analyzed to prevent future injuries.

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