Insurance Law Lesson 36: The Grand Bargain

Workers compensation is referred to as the grand bargain. Employers and employees each gain and also give up certain rights under workers compensation laws.

For an employee who is hurt on the job, workers compensation is his “exclusive remedy.” The employee cannot sue the employer in regular court unless the employer intentionally injured the employee (in some jurisdictions, like Ohio, gross negligence is also outside workers comp).

This is good for the employer because workers comp is limited to medicals (including care and modifications) and lost wages. It does not include pain and suffering.

On the other hand, any employee hurt on the job (unless he hurts himself intentionally) is entitled to workers comp. The employee does not need to prove the negligence of the employer, nor does she need to prove that she was not contributorily negligent.

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