In times past, if you got hurt on the job you were at the mercy of the company, and more often than not you had to sue in order to receive any kind of meaningful compensation.
But workers compensation laws have changed all that! The purpose of these laws is to provide a fixed payment to you allowing you to avoid having to file a lawsuit. Family members are also protected in cases where the worker is no longer around.
Workers compensation laws also often protect the company from getting hit with outrageous judgments in court cases, so in a way they protect both employee and employer.
Each state has its own version of workers compensation law on the books, so your rights and responsibilities will vary according to your place of residence.
If you're a non-military federal employee, you are protected under the Federal Employment Compensation Act, which is the federal government's version of workers comp law.
If you can no longer work due to having been hurt or disabled on the job, your employer has a legal obligation to provide benefits. Make sure you protect your rights and interests even if you have to retain a workers compensation attorney to help you.
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