The workers’ compensation system exists for many reasons. It exists for employers to allow them to avoid liability suits and to avoid a jury holding them accountable for injuring their workers.
For workers it provides benefits, regardless of fault, and in theory it provides an expedited litigation system.
What most people don’t really understand, however, is that it places a great incentive on employers to keep the workplace safe. Unfortunately, some employers don’t really understand that either.
The theory on this is that as employers fail to spend money keeping a workplace safe, they make it more likely for workers to be injured. When workers are injured it ultimately costs the employer (directly if they are self-insured, or through increased premiums and other insurance issues if they are not).
I have represented workers who have been involved with various types of sanding or cutting fiberglass and other materials who have developed some lung conditions. Here is a story about a group of workers who are being severely injured cutting countertops. If you choose to listen to this story, you will find that there is an employer at the end who figured out early on that this was a problem and began taking steps to make sure that the silica dust was not in the air. The workers being injured were not just the people doing the cutting, but also people cleaning it up and so forth.