Compensability of Occupational Diseases – Unexpected Trends

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The Workers’ Compensation Resources Research Report, Issue 9, by Professor John F. Burton Jr. contains an Overview of Workers’ Compensation. In Part I the origins of workers’ compensation programs in the U.S. are discussed which was in the early 20th century. Additionally the objectives of a modern workers’ compensation program, and also a description of the current programs are examined. In recent years both costs and benefits as a percent of payroll have been near their low points for the period since 1980. Part II looks at the coverage of employers and employees by current workers’ compensation programs. About 90 percent of the employed U.S. workforce are in firms who are legally required to provide coverage. However the actual coverage is less in many jurisdictions. Part II also examines which diseases and injuries are compensable. In many jurisdictions, the four traditional tests to establish legal causation for injuries have been tightened. In conjunction with this in many states, the customary tests to establish legal causation for diseases have also become even more restrictive. As a result, a considerable percentage of work-related injuries and diseases do not receive workers’ compensation benefits. Order the full report.

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