Workman’s comp (sometimes spelled “workmen’s comp”) is an older name for what is more commonly known today as “workers’ compensation.”
Workers’ compensation is a form of insurance specifically for employees who are hurt on the job. It is a “no fault” system that covers injured workers’ pay for wages lost and their medical benefits.
In return for these benefits, workers typically relinquish their rights to sue their employer. This is known as the “compensation bargain.”
A brief history of workers’ compensation
Workers’ compensation laws were first initiated in industrial countries in Europe as a way to reduce litigation over work injuries. The premise is that since workers’ compensation is a “no fault” system (meaning it doesn’t matter whose fault the accident was), there will be less discrepancies.
Maryland was the first state to pass a statewide workers’ compensation law in 1902. The federal government followed suit for all federal employees in 1906 and all states had enacted some form of workers’ compensation by 1949.
These were known as “workman’s compensation” laws, but most organizations now use the term “workers’ compensation” as a gender-neutral alternative.
Initially these laws were voluntary, but most states later enacted new compulsory workers’ compensation laws – meaning that employers are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance or they may be subject to penalties.
In most states, workers’ compensation insurance is provided by private insurance companies, although some states do have state funds set apart for workers’ compensation purposes.
NC “Workman’s Comp” laws
In North Carolina, the North Carolina Industrial Commission (NCIC) is the legal body that oversees and rules on the Workers’ Compensation Act.
Here are a couple of earmarks that set NC’s workers’ compensation laws apart:
- All employers with 3 or more employees must have Workers’ Comp insurance.
While there are some exceptions, the majority of employers that meet this criteria are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance. And any businesses that deal with radiation are required to have workers’ compensation insurance regardless of the number of employees they have.
- For an injury to be compensable it must fall into one of these categories:
- Injury by Accident – an injury resulting from an unusual event or situation while “on the clock”
- Specific Traumatic Injury – an injury to the back or neck while at work that occurred at a specific time or place (the circumstances do not have to be “unusual” or an “accident”)
- Occupational disease – an illness or condition caused by exposure at work or a repetitive work action