Vanderbilt Law Review

First Page



Workmen's compensation is a mechanism designed to provide cash benefits to employees to recompense for loss of wages due to injuries sustained in work-connected activities. Theoretically, the cost of the program is charged to the consumer by increasing the price of goods and services sold to the public. An employee, covered by a compensation act, is entitled to payments if he is injured by an accident arising out of and in the course of his employment; and the fact that such employee was at fault or guilty of negligence himself is normally of no consequence.

Compensation benefits, in contrast to damages received in common-law tort actions, reimburse only for injuries resulting in disability of a type which reduces or otherwise affects earning capacity. Thus compensation acts do not make payments for pain and suffering, loss of consortium and other losses of a like nature. A worker who is in all respects eligible for compensation receives a sum amounting to approximately one half to two thirds of his average wage, depending on the particular jurisdiction making the award.