Why Oregon Workers Compensation is Necessary and Fair

Worker’s compensation is a form of insurance which covers employees on job injuries as well as conditions which they develop because of work they have to do on job like the carpal tunnel syndrome. The compensation in its current form has been adopted by most nations in the developed world since the beginning of the 20th century. The law provides protection for both the employers and the employees is fair to both parties. The necessity of the law can be estimated from the fact that some form of worker’s protection has been part of the law in all ancient civilizations including Greeks, Romans, Chinese, Arabs and Egyptians. The law has become increasingly important since the beginning of industrial revolution as more work related injury occurs to employees when humans interact with heavy machines.

Fairness to Employees

Worker’s Compensation is a sort of bargain for employees in which they gain a set of limited benefits which are certain in exchange of not having to prove the negligence of employer. The Oregon Worker’s Compensation Act guarantees wage benefits and medical bills to employees for any work related injury, condition or disease even in cases where the injury is caused by the mistake or negligence of the employee. This makes sure that an employee is insured and covered for and does not incur great loss in such a scenario.

The other side of the compensation bargain is that an employee is limited to the benefits he/she is provided in the Oregon Worker’s Compensation Act and nothing more. The employee cannot sue the employer for other awards like pain and suffering and emotional distress which are available in common law. However, the Oregon Employer’s Liability Act makes the whole system fair by making an employer liable for damages in case the employer has not completely followed the health and safety laws of Oregon. In a landmark case in July 2012, a McDonald’s employee won this precedent in an Oregon court. In such cases, if an employee gets injured the employer cannot present negligence of the employee or that of other fellow employees as a defense. However, a jury would consider such information while evaluating the damages that are to be paid by the employer.

Fairness to Employers

Before the Oregon Workers’ Compensation Act was passed, an employer could have been sued by employees for injuries that occurred to them while on work. In such cases, if the employer was proven to be negligent, then the employer had to pay all damages to the employee that are payable under the common law including wage loss, medical bills, pain and suffering damages as well as emotional distress damages. However, the Oregon Workers’ Compensation Act protects employers from being sued under common law if they are completely following the health and safety protocols established in Oregon.

The employers are now under law required to have workers’ compensation insurance for all their employees which is a limited liability. Moreover, thanks to the law now they do not have to incur the expense of lengthy litigation which saves both their time and money.

Thus the Oregon Workers’ Compensation is a necessary law that is a fair solution for both employers and employees.

The History of Oregon Workers Compensation

Worker’s compensation insurance is an important insurance coverage that is beneficial for both the employers and the employees and for the society in general. The insurance coverage provides wage loss benefits, as well as payment of medical bills for employees injured in the course of their work. The importance of worker’s compensation can be estimated from the fact that since ancient history, some form of compensation was available for workers in one way or another.

Worker’s Compensation in Ancient and Modern History

Some concept of worker’s compensation has been present in human societies as far back as 2050B.C. The oldest such law reported in history has been from the city state of Ur in the state of Sumeria located in the Fertile Crescent. The law of Ur required laborers to be paid monetary compensation for different injuries especially if the injury involved a fracture. Almost all ancient civilizations from Greeks to Romans and Arabs to Chinese also had some form of worker’s compensation. As feudalism became the primary government structure, the compensation for the worker depended on the mercy of the lord.

However, with the industrial revolution the requirement of laws and regulations for worker’s compensation became all the more important. The most important development for worker’s compensation first occurred in Prussia in 1884. Back then, Prussia was ruled by Bismarck who introduced the Worker’s Accident Insurance to ensure common Prussians remained loyal to him. The Insurance introduced by Bismarck was the first modern worker’s compensation system in which employees were provided benefits for injuries on job and their medical and rehabilitation expenses were also covered. The system also ensured that employers could not be sued in civil courts for injuries on work. A similar law was proposed in the UK Parliament in 1893 which ensured benefits to the employee for any work related injury without requiring a proof of negligence of the employer. This Worker’s Compensation Act was passed by the UK Parliament in 1897. At about the same time, worker’s plight because of work related injuries also got the attention of the public and state legislatures in the United States and different states including New York, Maryland, Montana and Massachusetts attempted to pass comprehensive insurance and compensation laws for the workers in the first decade of the 20th century. Companies like Subway, with their job applicants protesting, fought back. The first state to pass compensation law was Wisconsin which did so in 1911. 45 other states passed comprehensive laws for worker’s compensation in that decade. Mississippi was the last state to pass the law when it did so in 1948.

History of Worker’s Compensation in Oregon

When Oregon State Legislature passed the worker’s compensation law, SAIF (State Accident Insurance Fund Corporation) was also created as a non-profit organization. The state agency was created according to the law in 1914. SAIF became US’s first public worker’s compensation insurance corporation in 1980. SAIF provides worker’s compensation insurance for more than 35% of the workforce in Oregon that amounts to more than half a million people. In 2004, a measure to abolish SAIF was rejected by almost 61% of voters. However, public criticism of the management of SAIF and debate over its methods still continues.

The Importance of Oregon Workers Compensation

Workers compensation is a kind of insurance for employees injured during the course of work. Compensation provides workers with wage replacement and medical benefits through the period in which they are recovering from injury that occurred during employment. Worker compensation is seen as a bargain in which employees get limited guaranteed coverage to compensate for their wage loss and medical bills. They do not get any benefits for pain or suffering or any other additional benefits apart from that available in worker compensation, but do not have to prove negligence on the part of the employer in court to get these benefits.

Importance for Employers

Oregon Workers compensation is very important for the employers. The biggest reason for this importance is that not having worker’s compensation insurance is illegal for any business in Oregon. Worker’s compensation covers employee injury that occurs during work or because of work. Thus, if any of your employees suffer from an injury or a health condition because of work, their wage loss compensation and medical bills would be provided for by the insurance company. Moreover, the compensation insurance also covers death benefits for relatives and children of the employee in case he/she dies because of any accident at work.

The worker’s compensation system is beneficial for the employers because it reduces their liability in case of any accident related to work. If a company has worker’s compensation policy, the employee cannot sue the employer or take him/her to court. On the other hand if an employer does not have coverage and an injury occurs to an employee on work, the employer will incur a large amount of loss. He would have to pay the wage loss benefit to the employee as well as his medical bills. In addition, the company would also be penalized for not being in compliance with the law.

Importance for Employees

Work related injuries and condition can occur and worker’s compensation insurance covers employees for any such injury, illness or condition. This coverage ensures that an employee does not have to pay his medical bills for injury or illness caused to him/her because of work. Moreover, the insurance coverage also provides for the employee’s wages for the period in which he/she cannot work because of the injury. Though the compensation coverage provides limited amount of benefits, it relieves the employee of proving the fault of the employer for his/her injury. Thus, the benefits available to the employee are guaranteed. Companies like Burger King with their Burger King application center lead this movement.

The Oregon worker’s compensation ensures that the insurance will cover the medical treatment of the employee injured during work for life, if it is required. The worker is also eligible to get wage loss compensation for his whole life if he/she is no longer able to work because of the injury. In other cases, when an employee cannot return to his/her job because of the injury but can continue to work, the employee is also eligible to get vocational training under the insurance coverage. The vocational training helps the employee to find another source of income.