Explore BrainMass

Explaining Workers Compensation

6 major points on workers compensation & 6 current references

Solution Preview

The points below should help you.

"The workers compensation system was one of the triumphs of the industrial age. The system is the cumulative result of years of strife and compromise between employer/owners and employee/labor. The struggle toward this useful social compromise began in the 1870s with the organized labor movement and came to fruition in 1911 with the passage of the first state workers compensation law in Wisconsin.
In the workers compensation system, injured employees relinquish the right to sue their employers for employment-related injuries in return for a statutorily imposed mechanism that provides specific scheduled benefits. These benefits are funded, for the most part, through insurance policies that employers purchase from insurance companies. Indeed, in most states, employers must insure their workers compensation exposure or become qualified self-insurers. Employers cannot simply decide to operate without insurance. If they do, they risk being fined—and still have to pay the benefits that are set by law when an employee is injured on the job." (Reitz& Thamann, 2000).

Various Workers Compensation Doctrines
There are several legal theories may affect coverage under the workers compensation.
The Positional Risk Doctrine
"The positional risk doctrine is a legal theory that proposes an employee injury may be said to arise out of his employment if the injury would not have occurred but for the fact that the conditions or obligations of the employment placed the employee in a position where he was injured by a neutral force. This neutral force must be one that is neither personal to the employee nor associated distinctly with the employment.
A common example of the positional risk doctrine is where a vehicle crashes through the building where the employee is working, injuring the employee. Some would argue that there is no causal connection between the employment and the injury. In jurisdictions that have adopted the positional risk doctrine, it is held that the employee was injured only because he was at work, in a position where he had to be because of his employment. Thus, workers compensation benefits should be paid. The doctrine declares that mere presence is enough if the injured employee would not have been injured otherwise. Jurisdictions that do not accept the positional risk doctrine emphasize the point that mere presence at the work place is not by itself enough to certify that an injury arose out of and in the course of employment.
Odd Lot Doctrine
The odd lot doctrine allows the finding of permanent total disability when a relatively small percentage of impairment caused by a work-related accident is combined with other factors to render a claimant unable to obtain employment. The employee does not have to be completely physically disabled under this doctrine. Some of the other factors to be considered are the age, education, and mental capacity of the claimant, as well as the claimant's ability to be trained. If a workers compensation board, after hearing the facts of the case, decides that the employee cannot obtain work because those factors preclude it, then permanent total disability can be granted.
Usual Exertion Doctrine
A majority of jurisdictions throughout the country apply the usual exertion doctrine. It states that an injury to an employee is compensable if ...

Solution Summary

Understanding the key components of workers compensation