When employees show up to work, they have a right to a relatively safe work environment. However, not all accidents can be prevented, and so to help ensure injured workers have an outlet for relief when unable to work, the state workers' compensation provides benefits. Think of workers' compensation like a safety net in which workers have a recourse if unable to work due to injury sustained on the job or due to the activities of the job.
Employers are required to carry workers' compensation insurance to help them provide benefits to their employees if they are injured on the job. Workers' compensation generally covers injured workers in the short term, typically less than one year. For injuries lasting longer than one year, other types of assistance, such as Social Security Disability, may be necessary.
The workers' compensation system is meant to give injured workers compensation without the need for personal injury lawsuits. What this means is that employees who collect workers' compensation benefits after an injury generally cannot then sue their employer for negligence involving the same injury. Depending on the injury specifics, one may not want to waive this right so fast. There could be more than meets the eye with work-related injury.
In some cases, an injured worker may be able to pursue a personal injury claim against a third party. For example, workers who are injured at a construction site where multiple companies are involved, might be able to collect workers' compensation benefits from their own employers without having to prove negligence, but would not necessarily be barred from filing suit against one of the other companies that was operating at the site.
Consider all your options before making a decision about your benefits. It could make a huge difference in the long run.