Workers' Compensation: Recent Developmentby John F. Burton, Jr. Labor and Employment Relations Association Annual Meeting St. Louis, Missouri June 7, 2013
A Definitive Introduction to Workers’ Compensation in 900 Seconds John F. Burton, Jr. Professor Emeritus Rutgers University and Cornell University
Workers Had to Bring Tort Suits against Employers for Work Injuries Prior to Workers’ Compensation • Workers and Employers Generally Dissatisfied with Tort Suits
Workmen’s Compensation Statutes Were Enacted by States • New Jersey and Wisconsin were the initial states to enact workers’ compensation statutes in 1911 • U.S. Supreme Court interpretation of Commerce Clause precluded a federal law covering private sector and state and local government workers as of 1911 • Although the constitutional limits on a federal program for private sector workers changed in the 1930, almost all private sector workers currently are covered by state workers’ compensation programs and there are no federal standards for these state programs
Workers’ Compensation Principle • Workers injured on the job do not need to prove that employer is negligent • Workers’ compensation is exclusive remedy for workers for work-related injuries and diseases • Workers can only receive benefits prescribed by workers’ compensation statute • Workers cannot bring tort suits against employers (with very limited exceptions)
Figure AWorkers’ Compensation Benefits Paid by Type of Insurer,in 2010 Source: NASI (2012: Table 4) .
Figure B Workers' Compensation Benefits and Costs per $100 of Covered Wages, 1980–2010
Figure DWorkers’ Compensation Statutory Benefits Changes,1959-2011 Source: Burton and NCCI 2012.
Sources of Data: www.workerscompresources.com