Workers’ compensation law demands that employers assume responsibility for their employees’ work-related injuries, illnesses, and deaths. More specifically, if an employee becomes sick or is injured while on the job, his or her employer must pay for medical expenses and ensure wage replacement if the employee cannot work. If an individual is killed while working, benefits are provided to that worker’s family members. In the United States, these laws are managed at the state level, and the federal government has its own program for federal workers.

These laws create the foundation for the oldest social insurance program in the United States, and their significance cannot be overstated. To illustrate, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) estimates that employers pay almost $1 billion per week in ...

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