An interesting 2016 study and report by the US Department of Labor takes an in-depth look at our workers’ compensation systems and asks the question: Does the workers’ compensation system fulfill its obligations to injured workers?
The report reviews a number of programs and issues but also sounds an alarm: Working people are at great risk of falling into poverty as a result of workplace injuries and the failure of state workers’ compensation systems to provide them with adequate benefits.
You can read the entire report here.
After practicing workers’ compensation in northern Minnesota for more than 35 years, I can attest to the fact that a work injury can have a devastating effect on individuals and families. Denied or disputed claims can drag on for months or even years while the injured person is without income or medical coverage. The toll on finances, emotional well-being, marriages and retirement plans can be catastrophic.
Fortunately, most cases do not end up this way but enough do that it should be a major concern for our state legislatures, including Minnesota’s. This report looks at how the work comp system in the United States was formed and evolved. It also addresses how benefits to injured workers are being reduced or limited and how the financial burden of those injury claims is being shifted to other programs such as Medicare, Social Security disability, government assistance programs or health insurance. In other words, the “safety net” is being strained by claims which should be paid by workers’ compensation insurance.
“If you work hard in America, you have the right to a safe workplace.
And if you get hurt on the job, or become disabled or unemployed,
you should still be able to keep food on the table.”
–President Barack Obama
“A nation built on the dignity of work must provide for workers’
safety, as well as take care of them if they get hurt on the job.
When workers are hurt, a robust workers’ compensation program
can make the difference between poverty and recovery. It is time
that we look at whether this basic bargain is fraying and how we
fortify this critical lifeline for millions of working families.”
–Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez
If you have been injured on the job and have questions about your claim or the Minnesota work comp system, please don’t hesitate to give us a call. You can contact us, anytime, with questions about your case or to arrange an absolutely free consultation. It won’t cost you anything and we will always give you our honest assessment about whether you need a lawyer to represent you. If you have questions about how much it costs to hire a lawyer for a Minnesota workers’ compensation case, you can check out this previous post.
Remember, you are dealing with an insurance company which handles hundreds or thousands of claims every day. They have experienced claims adjusters and attorneys managing their files. Even if you don’t need a lawyer at the moment, a little information about the work comp system can make a big difference for you in your dealings with the insurance company. At Bradt Law Offices, we have been providing assistance to injured workers all across northern Minnesota and the Iron Range for more than 35 years.
As always, thank you for visiting our blog and please spread the word that we are a good source of work comp information and assistance for workers injured in northern Minnesota and anywhere on the Iron Range.