Virtually all employers in Delaware must provide workers' compensation insurance coverage for their employees. Employers are covered if they have at least one employee. Employers of certain volunteer workers, such as firefighters and ambulance workers, may elect to be covered. A few categories of employment are specifically exempted from coverage:
The following categories of employment are specifically exempted from coverage:
- Domestic employees earning less than $750 a quarter from a single employer
- Spouse and children of a farm employer
- Farm laborers
- Casual employees working in private homes and earning less than $750 per quarter from a single employer
- Sole proprietors and partners in a business
- Licensed real estate agents and associates who receive commissions only
- Employees of the state or its subdivisions, including volunteer firefighters
Any employer not obligated to provide coverage may elect to provide coverage under the Workers' Compensation Act, thereby gaining immunity from other legal actions.
"No-fault" system. Workers' compensation is a no-fault system. Employees receive compensation without having to prove that the employer was at fault for the injury. They need only show that the injury arose "out of and in the course of employment." This no-fault aspect distinguishes workers' compensation from ordinary "tort" law, which provides for the compensation of injured people in most other circumstances. Under tort law, a person receives compensation only if the injury was caused by someone else's carelessness. The operative legal term is "negligence," which is simply the failure to use due care. In most cases, an injured party is compensated only if he or she can prove that the injury ...