One of the central features of Maine’s workers’ compensation statute is its tort immunity or “exclusive remedy” provision. This provision represents a trade-off: In exchange for compensating work injuries regardless of employee fault, employers are exempt from civil suits involving injury or death arising out of and in the course of employment – and the high defense costs, high damage awards, and pain and suffering damages such suits can entail. This “grand bargain” has been a defining feature of Maine’s workers’ compensation system since its inception nearly 100 years ago.
However, in other jurisdictions with similar provisions, this most basic feature of workers’ compensation law is now under fire. Continue reading