Workers’ compensation statutes are designed to ensure that employees who are injured or disabled on the job are not required to cover medical bills related to their on-the-job injury, and are provided with monetary awards to cover loss of wages directly related to the accident, as well as to compensate for permanent physical impairments. The intent of these statutes is to eliminate the need for litigation by having employees give up the potential for pain- and suffering-related awards in exchange for not being required to prove tort (legal fault) on the part of their employer.
These laws also provide benefits for dependents of those workers who are killed because of work-related accidents or illnesses. Some laws also protect employers and fellow workers by limiting the amount an injured employee can recover from an employer and by eliminating the liability of co-workers in most accidents. State statutes [in the United States] establish this framework for most employment. Federal statutes [in the United States] are limited to federal employees or those workers employed in some significant aspect of interstate commerce.
The fairness of workers’ compensation statutes is highly controversial, with the claimants (injured workers) and claimant attorneys arguing the need for greater benefits, and the employer/insurance carrier side arguing that excessive fraud in the system causes unnecessary and inappropriate costs.