Adding to the bad news about the state workers compensation system comes a new report from the Center for Effective Government (CEG). Safety BLR reports that the CEG believes the state-run workers’ compensation systems are “crumbling” and are not providing adequate protections to workers who suffer on-the-job injuries.
Workers’ comp benefits are the only option for many people who get hurt on the job. If you suffer an injury related to your work, the Atlanta workers’ comp lawyers at Sammons & Carpenter, P.C. can provide advice about your options and can represent you as you try to get the benefits you need.
Problems with the Atlanta Workers’ Compensation System- and Possible Solutions
The CEG identified several problems that the Center believes are undermining the effectiveness of state workers’ comp systems to take care of injured employees. The problems include the following:
- Employers are not paying in as much to the workers’ compensation system as they did in the past, leading to workers getting less support. In some states, employers used to pay in as much as $2.39 per $100 in wages back in 1988 but this amount has dropped to .88 per $100 in wages. Workers’ comp accounts for around 44 cents of the $31.32 that private employers spend per worker, per hour, on average. This means that workers’ comp translates to just 1.4 percent of total costs of providing compensation and benefits to workers.
- Compensation and benefits are provided unevenly among different states. There are ‘dramatic disparities” among the states, which leave some workers worse off after injuries. Georgia, at least, was one of the states that provided higher amounts of compensation for some serious injuries. For example, in Georgia, the amputation of an arm could result in $740,000 in workers’ comp benefits over a lifetime while in Arkansas the total benefits for arm amputation could be as low as $45,000.
- Workers are being asked to assume more costs. It has become harder for workers’ to get all of their losses covered, and an employee hurt on the job now ends up spending personal money to pay for about half of all injury costs. The biggest burden for covering injury costs falls upon workers who are injured.
- Not all workers are covered. More employers are relying on temp workers and contract workers. Those who are self-employed and who are working on a temporary or contract basis may not qualify for traditional workers’ comp benefits.
CEG has suggested a three prong approach to solving these problems including the establishment of federal minimum standards for workers’ comp benefits; more federal monitoring of state-run workers’ comp programs; and restoring funding to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to emphasize the prevention of work injuries.
While these changes may not be immediately forthcoming, workers need to work within the existing system to fight for the benefits that they need and deserve. An attorney can help.
The Atlanta work accident lawyers at Sammons & Carpenter, P.C. can represent you after an injury caused by a work accident. Call today at (404) 814-8949 or contact us online to schedule your free consultation.