Workers’ compensation laws protect people who become injured or disabled while working at their jobs. The laws provide the injured workers with fixed monetary awards, in an attempt to eliminate the need for litigation. These laws also provide benefits for dependents of those workers who are killed because of work-related accidents or illnesses.
Some laws also protect employers and fellow workers by limiting the amount an injured employee can recover from an employer and by eliminating the liability of co-workers in most accidents. State statutes establish this framework for most employment. Federal statutes are limited to federal employees or those workers employed in some significant aspect of interstate commerce.
The U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs (OWCP) administers four major disability compensation programs which provides to federal workers (or their dependents) and other specific groups who are injured at work or acquire an occupational disease – providing the injured:
- Wage replacement benefits
- Medical treatment
- Vocational rehabilitation
- Other benefits