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3 Things to Know About Workers’ Compensation

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When you enter the workforce, you are faced with many new terms, ideas and situations. One of the things you may face is a workplace injury. Before searching for an Iowa workers compensation lawyer, consider learning more about this insurance and the claims process.


Did you know that the idea behind workers’ compensation dates back to 2050 BC? The pirate code in the 1700 also offered a type of injury compensation. Then, Germany passed a bill in 1884 concerning insurance for worker injuries. Finally, the US passed the Federal Employer’s Liability Act in 1908. Workers’ compensation laws began in Wisconsin in 1911, and this law was quickly followed by laws in 36 other states.


Texas is the only state that does not require workers’ compensation insurance for companies without government contracts. However, every state has different laws. For example, some states, such as Michigan and Arkansas, require businesses with 3 employees to purchase insurance, while others, such as Tennessee and Missouri, require those with 5 or more employees to purchase this insurance.

Companies who do not purchase workers’ compensation will face penalties, but these are different in every state. For example, some states will charge companies with criminal noncompliance, while others just levy fines based on factors such as the number of employees and period of noncompliance. In Pennsylvania, noncompliant employers may even face prison time.


Workers’ compensation insurance covers employees who become ill or are injured while they are working, either inside the company or when they complete work-related activities outside the company, such as driving a company car to make a delivery. While most states do not require that employers cover independent contractors or volunteers, almost all states require that W2 employees be covered.

Injuries that are self-inflicted, the result of inebriation or negligence and those received outside the scope of the employee’s work are also not covered. For example, injuries caused by fights or messing around will not typically be covered.

If you have been injured at work, consider having a workers’ compensation attorney review your claim.