The workers’ compensation system exists in some form in every state in the country because it is supposed to protect the interests of both workers and employers. Employers benefit because they can’t get sued if a worker gets hurt on the job and they control their risk of loss by buying workers’ compensation insurance. Workers benefit because if they get hurt at work, that insurance pays the bills and pays for disability income, regardless of who was at fault or how the injury happened (as long as it is work related).
This bargain has worked for both employers and employees since the Industrial Age when workers’ comp programs were first developed… but the bargain is now breaking down. ProPublica reports that workers compensation benefits are being eroded nationwide, sometimes to the point where the minimal benefits that are offered after injuries leave workers in poverty.
Workers’ compensation is supposed to protect you and if you feel you are not being treated fairly, you need to get help. An Atlanta workers’ compensation lawyer can provide you with legal advice and assistance on how to pursue a benefits claim and can help you fight for benefits if your claim is denied or you are deprived coverage for medical treatment you need. Call Sammons & Carpenter for help if you are having a hard time.
Workers’ Compensation Benefits are Being Eroded
Since 2003, workers’ compensation benefits systems nationwide have gone through some significant changes that have helped employers and insurers and hurt workers. More than 33 different states since 2003 have passed legislation that curtails worker rights after a workplace injury. Some of the laws that were passed impose arbitrary cut-off dates at which time benefits stop, regardless of the workers current conditions.
Some of the laws also cut the amount of benefits available, or reduce the ability of patients and doctors to make their own medical decisions. In 13 states now, workers cannot pick their own physicians but have to see a doctor that their employer has selected or a doctor off a list their employer has made. Georgia is one of the states that requires you to select your physician from an employer-provided list.
These benefits cuts have helped employers and insurers to save a lot of money. Employers now pay lower workers’ compensation insurance premiums than they have paid since the 1970’s. Even though employers are paying much less for insurance, insurance companies are still enjoying healthy profit margins. In fact, in 2013, insurance companies made an 18 percent return on the workers’ compensation insurance premiums they took in. The insurers are making these healthy returns even with low premiums because they aren’t paying out very much to workers.
Workers, on the other hand, are suffering from these benefits cuts. As ProPublica reports, some judges presiding over workers’ compensation cases have described the changes as having inhumane results.
Although benefits programs have been under attack nationwide, workplace protections still do exist- you just need to make sure you fight hard to prevent anyone from trying to deny you benefits that you are due. An attorney can help.
The Atlanta work accident lawyers at Sammons & Carpenter, P.C. can represent you after an on-the-job injury. Call today at (404) 814-8949 or contact us online to schedule your free consultation.