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Occupational injury insurance in the United States

The occupational injury insurance is one of the first forms of state social insurance which has been developed in the USA. The corresponding laws first appeared in the states of Maryland (1902), Montana (1909), New York (1910), but were declared unconstitutional. By 1920, they were adopted in all states except six of them where the development of similar legislation lasted until the end of the 40s.
Occupational injury insurance in the United States

The insurance of occupational injuries in the following period remained mainly under the jurisdiction of the states. At the federal level, there are programs for public servants as well as miners suffering from occupational diseases (“black lung”).

In a number of states, the occupational injury insurance is held mainly by workers in those types of industries that are considered hazardous. Some programs limit an action by the number of employees: for example, they do not apply to teams with fewer than 3 to 5 employees.

The programs of occupational injury insurance are usually funded by employers based on the principle of business responsibility for industrial injuries. The costs of employers in this case are primarily related to the degree of risk at a particular enterprise. Where the back-office operations are performed, it can be 0.1% of the amount of salary payments, at enterprises with a high risk for injury it is 20% or more. On average, such insurance costs enterprises 2.15% of the amount of salaries paid.

These programs provide for amount- or time-specific (or together) compensation for damage to the injured persons. There are two main types of compensation:

· Cash benefits, including those who suffered from an occupational injury, dependents of the injured person, if the latter died as a result of injury;

· Medical care to persons who have sustained the occupational injury.

The level of payments (both minimum and maximum) to the injured persons varies significantly across the states. The difference in the maximum amount of benefits is 5 to 10 times. In the state of Alaska, the maximum amount of weekly payments in the late 1990s was over $ 700 while in Puerto Rico it was about $ 100. In many states (Iowa, Delaware, Minnesota, Maryland, New York, Ohio, Florida and others) the minimum amounts of benefits correspond to the level of current salaries (if they are less than the established minimum amount).

All programs set out physical rehabilitation, if necessary. In addition, almost all compensation acts comprise of special sections on rehabilitation in the form of retraining, educational courses, the change of workplace in order to help those who have been injured to find a suitable occupation.

Most programs also address payments for food, hotel services, travel for a more complete general rehabilitation. In some cases, payments are limited in time, in others they are made during the entire period of receiving the regular allowance.

In an Insured person dies, his heirs shall have the right to receive guaranteed insurance payments unpaid by the Insurer which are stipulated by the Agreement, if the Insured has not received them in full or did not receive it in life.


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