Conscientious employers take many measures to make sure that their employees are safe in the workplace. Providing training, keeping equipment in good repair, and forming safety committees are just a few ways that employers can help keep their workers safe. In the event that a work-related injury occurs despite these measures, the workers’ compensation system comes into play. The workers’ compensation system is a complex series of statutes and case law that has evolved over time. Understanding why we have this system can help employers and employees alike better comprehend their rights and responsibilities in the context of workers’ compensation.
Workers’ compensation provides protection for both employees and employers. When an employee sustains a work-related injury, it could mean that he or she is completely unable to work and provide for his or her family. With workers’ compensation, the employee is able to still receive income. The employee can also receive reimbursement for reasonable medical expenses. This is designed to help the employee heal so he or she can return to work as soon as possible. With workers’ compensation, the employee is also protected from the employer taking retaliatory action due to filing a workers’ compensation claim.
An employer also enjoys protection under this system. The California workers’ compensation system is a “no-fault” system. This means that the employee does not have to prove that the injury occurred as a result of the negligent or intentional conduct of the employer. The other side to this, however, is that the employee is typically barred from filing a tort claim against the employer to recover for the injuries. Instead, the employee must seek recompense for injuries through workers’ compensation. This protects the employer from repetitive or even frivolous lawsuits.
It is important to remember that for many years, there were no health or safety standards for workplace conditions. As a result, employees were frequently injured or even killed on the job, and their families would have no method of redress. The workers’ compensation system helps make sure that employers are incentivized to keep their business safe, and employees are not able to make a “double recovery” by suing in tort as well as receiving benefits.
We have extensive experience with the workers’ compensation system and explaining an employer’s rights and responsibilities. Contact us today for a consultation.