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Top Four Workers Compensation Definitions – Back To Basics


Workers Compensation Definitions

There are many Workers Compensation definitions on the internet. I was recently interviewed by a college student on Workers Compensation for his term paper.   He had asked if he could reference articles in the blog, which of course I allowed him copyright permission.

One question that he asked me is “What is Workers Compensation?”   I started reeling off info on underwriting, claims, premiums, state laws/rules, etc.  He then said, “No I was just wanting the basic Workers Compensation definitions. ”

Picture Of Man Workers Compensation Definitions At Work
Wikipedia – Alfred T. Palmer

I was reminded that we in the WC world become so wrapped up on the technicalities and legalities that we should possibly take a step back and look at the basics.  I decided to google the definition of Workers Comp to see what results would appear.

The theme that stands out is the lack of one true definition of Workers Compensation.  One can see why WC is a complicated subject even when trying to keep it simple.

According to Investopedia: A state-sponsored system that pays monetary benefits to workers who become injured or disabled in the course of their employment. Sick pay may qualify as workers’ compensation under certain conditions. Workers’ compensation first appeared in the U.S. in the 1930s and 1940s.

The Legal Dictionary’s definition is very long and can be found here.

Merriam Webster’s Dictionary definition:

A system of insurance that reimburses an employer for damages that must be paid to an employee for injury occurring in the course of employment. Program through which employers bear some of the cost of their employees’ work-related injuries and occupational illnesses or disabilities. It was first introduced in Germany in 1884.

Picture Of Merriam Webster Dictionary Workers Compensation Definitions In Library
Wikipedia – Noah1806

In Britain and the U.S. in the late 19th century, there was a movement to secure the right of injured workers to compensation and to improve working conditions through court decisions, employer liability statutes, and safety codes. By the mid-20th century most countries in the world had adopted some sort of workers’ compensation. Some systems take the form of compulsory social insurance in others the employer is legally required to provide certain benefits, but insurance is voluntary.

The system of workers’ compensation serves as an economic incentive for employers to prevent accidents and illness among employees, since liability for medical costs and the income lost by placing workers in hazardous environments can easily exceed the costs of establishing safe working conditions.

Wikipedia’ definition: Workers’ compensation is a form of insurance providing wage replacement and medical benefits to employees injured in the course of employment in exchange for mandatory relinquishment of the employee’s right to sue his or her employer for the tort of negligence. The trade-off between assured, limited coverage and lack of recourse outside the worker compensation system is known as “the compensation bargain”.

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James J Moore - Workers Comp Expert

Raleigh, NC, United States

About The Author...

James founded a Workers’ Compensation consulting firm, J&L Risk Management Consultants, Inc. in 1996. J&L’s mission is to reduce our clients’ Workers Compensation premiums by using time-tested techniques. J&L’s claims, premium, reserve and Experience Mod reviews have saved employers over $9.8 million in earned premiums over the last three years. J&L has saved numerous companies from bankruptcy proceedings as a result of insurance overpayments.

James has over 27 years of experience in insurance claims, audit, and underwriting, specializing in Workers’ Compensation. He has supervised, and managed the administration of Workers’ Compensation claims, and underwriting in over 45 states. His professional experience includes being the Director of Risk Management for the North Carolina School Boards Association. He created a very successful Workers’ Compensation Injury Rehabilitation Unit for school personnel.

James’s educational background, which centered on computer technology, culminated in earning a Masters of Business Administration (MBA); an Associate in Claims designation (AIC); and an Associate in Risk Management designation (ARM). He is a Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC) and a licensed financial advisor. The NC Department of Insurance has certified him as an insurance instructor. He also possesses a Bachelors’ Degree in Actuarial Science.

LexisNexis has twice recognized his blog as one of the Top 25 Blogs on Workers’ Compensation. J&L has been listed in AM Best’s Preferred Providers Directory for Insurance Experts – Workers Compensation for over eight years. He recently won the prestigious Baucom Shine Lifetime Achievement Award for his volunteer contributions to the area of risk management and safety. James was recently named as an instructor for the prestigious Insurance Academy.

James is on the Board of Directors and Treasurer of the North Carolina Mid-State Safety Council. He has published two manuals on Workers’ Compensation and three different claims processing manuals. He has also written and has been quoted in numerous articles on reducing Workers’ Compensation costs for public and private employers. James publishes a weekly newsletter with 7,000 readers.

He currently possess press credentials and am invited to various national Workers Compensation conferences as a reporter.

James’s articles or interviews on Workers’ Compensation have appeared in the following publications or websites:

  • Risk and Insurance Management Society (RIMS)
  • Entrepreneur Magazine
  • Bloomberg Business News
  • WorkCompCentral.com
  • Claims Magazine
  • Risk & Insurance Magazine
  • Insurance Journal
  • Workers Compensation.com
  • LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and other social media sites
  • Various trade publications


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