Workers’ compensation insurance is something that has been around in the United States for more than 100 years. Over that time, it has undergone changes and the law continues to evolve even today. This is one reason why, if you suffer a work injury, you should consult with an attorney. That is the best way to be sure of your current rights and options regarding compensation.
As most readers may know, the basic theory driving workers’ compensation is that it is a form of no-fault insurance. It effectively represents a grand bargain codified in law that assures that medical care for work-related injuries or illness will be provided at no cost to the worker. Additionally, it assures protection against wage loss. In return for supplying this coverage, the employer is typically immune from personal injury liability.
Laws in this regard vary somewhat from state to state. In Ohio, a provision exists that allows an injured employer to seek more than the baseline benefits if it can be proven that the accident and the injury happened because of deliberate actions by the employer that created unsafe conditions and resulted in the accident. It’s called a claim of Violation of Specific Safety Requirements.
This is not the same thing as an intentional tort, which might be brought in a case where you believe your employer intended to cause you harm. Rather, VSSR compensation tends to cover situations in which an employer generally failed to follow specific safety regulations of the state.
For example, if you were injured while working a saw that should have had a safety guard, but your employer removed the guard, that might be grounds for VSSR compensation. If the claim is approved, the employer could be penalized up to 50 percent of the maximum workers’ compensation award the law allows.
Remember, optimizing benefits in workers’ compensation claims is not the insurance company’s focus. For that, you need your own legal advocate.