What Is Workers' Compensation?

By Michael Galvan | 03/10/2016

It is likely you have heard about workers' compensation, but you might not know what it means. Workers' compensation refers to a set of state-mandated and federal programs that provide compensation and medical care for workers who get injured on the job. These regulations are an important element of the modern work environment. Workers' compensation laws were enacted to help improve workplace safety and protect employee health.

Wisconsin passed the first state-based worker's compensation law in the United States in 1911.1 This measure set the standard for the way we handle work injuries today. Employees are no longer required to prove liability and cannot sue employers if their workers accept the benefits. It is also known as a "no-fault" system.

State laws vary, so employers must understand the complex facets of the workers' compensation system for all the states in which they operate. This way, they can effectively manage their vast and diverse workforces. In some states, the size of the workforce dictates on whether an employer must offer workers’ compensation to their employees. In other states, providers and patients have a choice of primary caregiver and rehabilitation services.

Occupational medicine healthcare providers specialize in treating work-related injuries. They consistently work within the workers' compensation system and understand the importance of getting employees to functional capacity and back to work as smoothly and efficiently as possible. The top occupational healthcare providers understand the importance of communicating with patients, payors, and employers, and have the tools to do so. This will help streamline the process and avoid unnecessary delays in recovery or claims processing.

The workers' compensation system is an important part of a well-functioning economy. It helps avoid costly legal battles and sets aside protection for injured workers. That is why it is important to know the laws in your state and partner with healthcare providers who regularly treat employees that get injured at work.


  1. https://dwd.wisconsin.gov/wc/brief_history.htm