Wisconsin Workers Compensation

What is Wisconsin Workers’ Compensation?

In Wisconsin, the workers’ compensation system provides benefits to employees who have suffered work-related injuries or illnesses. The system is designed to provide medical care, wage replacement, and rehabilitation services to injured workers, while also protecting employers from potential lawsuits related to workplace injuries. Here’s an overview of how the workers’ compensation system works in Wisconsin:

  1. Coverage: Most employers in Wisconsin are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance, with a few exceptions. Coverage extends to all employees, including part-time and seasonal workers, and covers both physical injuries and occupational illnesses.
  2. Reporting an Injury: If an employee sustains a work-related injury or becomes ill due to work, they must report the incident to their employer as soon as possible. Failure to report the injury within a certain time frame may jeopardize their ability to receive benefits.
  3. Medical Treatment: Once an injury is reported, the employer or their workers’ compensation insurance carrier must provide reasonable and necessary medical treatment to the injured employee. The injured worker has the right to choose their healthcare provider from a list provided by the employer or insurance carrier.
  4. Wage Replacement: If an employee is unable to work due to their injury, they may be eligible for wage replacement benefits. Temporary Total Disability (TTD) benefits provide two-thirds of the worker’s average weekly wage, up to a statutory maximum. The benefits begin after the employee has been unable to work for three days and continue until the worker can return to work or reaches maximum medical improvement.
  5. Permanent Disability Benefits: If an employee sustains a permanent disability as a result of a work-related injury, they may be entitled to additional benefits. Permanent Partial Disability (PPD) benefits are based on the nature and severity of the disability and are paid in addition to any temporary disability benefits previously received. Permanent Total Disability (PTD) benefits may be awarded if the worker is permanently unable to perform any gainful employment.
  6. Vocational Rehabilitation: In cases where an employee is unable to return to their previous job due to their injury, vocational rehabilitation services may be provided. These services aim to help the injured worker reenter the workforce by providing job retraining, job placement assistance, and related support.
  7. Dispute Resolution: Disputes regarding workers’ compensation claims in Wisconsin are typically resolved through the state’s Department of Workforce Development. If an issue arises, either party can request a hearing before an administrative law judge. Appeals beyond the hearing level are handled by the Labor and Industry Review Commission.

It’s important to note that this is a general overview of the workers’ compensation system in Wisconsin, and specific details and procedures may vary depending on individual cases. If you or someone you know is dealing with a workers’ compensation claim, it’s advisable to consult with an attorney or seek guidance from the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development for personalized information.

History of Workers Compensation in Wisconsin

The history of workers’ compensation in Wisconsin dates back to the early 20th century. Here’s an overview of the key milestones and developments:

  1. Early Efforts: Prior to the establishment of formal workers’ compensation laws, injured workers had limited recourse for seeking compensation from their employers. They had to rely on common law remedies, which often required proving negligence on the part of the employer. Efforts to address this issue began in the late 19th century with the formation of labor organizations advocating for improved workplace safety and compensation for injured workers.
  2. The Gillette-Herzog Law (1911): Wisconsin’s first comprehensive workers’ compensation law, known as the Gillette-Herzog Law, was enacted in 1911. It created a no-fault system, shifting the burden of proof from the injured worker to the employer. Under this law, employers were required to provide medical care, disability benefits, and death benefits to their employees who suffered work-related injuries or illnesses.
  3. Constitutional Amendment (1911): To ensure the validity of the workers’ compensation legislation, Wisconsin ratified a constitutional amendment in 1911. The amendment authorized the state legislature to pass laws establishing a workers’ compensation system and prohibited employees from suing their employers for damages resulting from work-related injuries or deaths.
  4. Wisconsin Industrial Commission (1911): The Wisconsin Industrial Commission was established to administer and enforce the workers’ compensation law. It served as the primary regulatory body responsible for overseeing compliance, resolving disputes, and ensuring fair compensation for injured workers.
  5. Evolution of the Law: Over the years, Wisconsin’s workers’ compensation system has undergone several changes and updates to adapt to evolving needs. These changes have included adjustments to benefit levels, eligibility criteria, and medical treatment provisions. The primary goal has been to strike a balance between adequately compensating injured workers and maintaining affordability for employers.
  6. Reforms and Amendments: Wisconsin has experienced various reform efforts aimed at refining the workers’ compensation system. These reforms have addressed issues such as medical cost containment, return-to-work programs, fraud prevention, and dispute resolution mechanisms. The goal has been to streamline processes, control costs, and improve outcomes for both injured workers and employers.

It’s worth noting that the history of workers’ compensation is not unique to Wisconsin and mirrors the broader movement across the United States to establish a fair and efficient system for compensating injured workers. The development of workers’ compensation laws in Wisconsin played a significant role in shaping the national workers’ compensation framework.

Wisconsin State Resources

Workers’ compensation is a program overseen by the Wisconsin Department of Workplace Development. It provides lost wages and medical benefits to employees who have a work-related injury or illness. 

Worker’s Compensation Office and Contact Info

Room C100
201 E. Washington Ave.
Madison, WI 53703

Mailing Address:
P.O. Box 7901
Madison WI 53707-7901

Email Address: DWDDWC@dwd.wisconsin.gov

Phone: (608) 266-134

We Help Injured Wisconsin Workers

Get the help you need after a work injury. Navigating the WI workers’ compensation bureaucracy can feel overwhelming especially when you are in pain, missing work and not getting paid. We at Howdy Workers offer a free case evaluation and will walk you through the process of finding a medical practice, law firm and pharmacy who specialize in serving workers’ compensation clients. Get started today!