Workman's Comp vs Workers' Comp: Is There a Difference?

Workers Comp 101

You might have seen the terms "workers' comp" and "workman's comp" used – and understandably wondered if there's a difference. Here's the simple answer:

They mean the same thing! Both terms refer to the insurance system designed to protect businesses and help employees who get hurt or sick on the job. Let's dive into why the language has changed and what this insurance actually covers.

Why the Two Names?

Historically, the workforce was primarily male, which is why the term "workman's comp" was common. As more women entered the workforce, the language shifted to the more inclusive "workers' comp" or "workers' compensation."

How Workers' Comp Protects Everyone

Before workers' comp, injured employees had to sue their employers in court – a messy and expensive process. Workers' comp changed things for everyone:

  • Employees: If you're hurt on the job, workers' comp can cover your medical bills and some of your lost wages.
  • Employers: It protects you from potentially huge financial losses related to employee injuries.

What Workers' Comp Typically Covers

  • Medical care (doctor visits, hospital stays, medications, etc.)
  • Partial wage replacement while unable to work
  • Support for permanent disabilities
  • Benefits for the employee's dependents in case of a work-related death

Important Note: The specifics of what's covered can vary slightly from state to state.

Why You Need Workers' Comp

In most states, having workers' comp insurance is a legal requirement for businesses. Even when it’s not required by law, maintaining workers’ comp coverage may be a smart move for several reasons:

  • Protects your employees: Shows you care about their well-being.
  • Protects your business: Avoids costly lawsuits and financial strain.
  • Peace of mind: Knowing you've got this safety net in place.

The Bottom Line

Whether you call it "workman's comp" or "workers' comp," the most important thing is understanding how it supports both you and your team.

Find out more about how workers’ comp works.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Find answers to commonly asked questions about workers’ compensation.

What is workers' compensation?
Workers’ compensation is a form of insurance that benefits employers and employees in the case of a work-related injury or illness.
Who is required to carry workers’ comp?
Workers’ compensation laws vary by state, so it’s important to know your state’s requirements. In many states, workers’ compensation is required for employers with one or more employees.
What benefits are available?
Workers’ compensation can include medical care, lost wages and death benefits. Workers' compensation coverage may also safeguard businesses from legal action if an employee experiences a work-related injury or illness.
Who pays for workers’ comp?
The employer is responsible for purchasing and maintaining workers’ compensation coverage.
How much does workers’ compensation insurance cost?
Workers’ compensation premiums are based on factors such as payroll, industry and claims history, so premiums vary between businesses.