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Workers compensation insurance is required by state or federal law for nearly all employees. The statutes that require workers compensation insurance were developed in the early 1900s in an effort to compensate employees for injuries suffered on the job, regardless of whether their employers were negligent or not. In return for guaranteed workers compensation benefits, employees gave up the right to sue their employers. Workers compensation insurance became the exclusive remedy for employee-injury compensation. The statutes provide medical and lost wage benefits, and employers who are subject to the laws must carry workers compensation insurance or become qualified self-insured employers.
A few states permit employers to opt out of the law and revert to a negligence-based system. States also may exempt certain classes of employees—such as casual, agricultural, or domestic employees—and smaller employers who have only one or very few employees. There also are some legal theories that have eroded the exclusive remedy doctrine. However, despite these exceptions, workers compensation and employers liability insurance remains an important area for most commercial accounts. Private, non-business accounts also should be reviewed for employment exposures, especially in the area of domestic and agricultural employees. Even if the employer or class of employee is exempt from the law, employers may incur great expense if an employee is injured while on the job
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