Worker’s Compensation and Recordkeeping
The workers’ compensation laws are designed to compensate victims of workplace accidents by forcing the employer to pay the workers money for injuries and time lost. Workers’ compensation is considered ‘‘no-fault’’ insurance. No fault is admitted on the part of either the employer or the employee when a claim is made. Prior to passage of these laws, the only recourse a worker had was to sue the employer under civil law, a form of common law. Common law is a body of unwritten laws based on judicial decisions of the past, as opposed to statutory law that is prepared and enacted by legislative bodies.
When a worker is injured and stands to collect benefits, that worker must first typically undergo a waiting period, usually lasting from three to fourteen days. Benefits may or may not be paid retroactively to the first day of lost work and wages. Once the benefits begin, they are limited to two-thirds of the worker’s wages or capped at a given dollar amount per month depending on the state.