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Workers’ compensation reform hurts seriously injured workers

Posted On April 01, 2015

In Illinois’, employees who are injured on the job can give up their rights to sue their employer with the assistance of a Chicago workers compensation attorney in exchange for medical, disability and other benefits. However, over the past 10 years, many states in the U.S. have made changes to the workers’ compensation system that negatively impact seriously injured workers.

Key changes

According to an analysis of insurance industry data performed by ProPublica, some of the changes that have occurred within the workers’ compensation system include the following:

  • Over 30 states in the nation have passed workers’ compensation laws that minimize benefit amounts or make it more difficult for employees with certain injuries to qualify for them since 2003.
  • Many states prohibit injured workers from receiving benefits after an arbitrary period of time has passed. This occurs even if the employee has not made a full recovery.
  • More and more insurers and employers are able to control medical decisions, such as whether an injured worker should undergo surgery, for injured employees. In 37 states in the country, employees who are injured at work either have to pick from a list of doctors provided by their employer or are unable to select their own medical provider.

Although many of these changes are extensive, some have received little to no attention on a national level. This is because more than a decade ago, the federal government stopped monitoring laws for workers’ compensation.

Consequences for injured workers

These changes have resulted in severe consequences for injured workers working with a Chicago workers compensation attorney. For example, in some places, the cuts to workers’ compensation benefits have been so extensive that injured workers are extremely likely to fall into poverty after a workplace accident occurs. After involvement in a workplace accident, injured workers are also often unable to obtain the benefits they need right away. Instead, they have to deliberate with insurance companies for an extended period of time to get the basic medical care recommended by their doctor covered.

Since employers are no longer required to provide adequate workers’ compensation benefits in certain places, the burden of paying for workplace accidents has been turned over to taxpayers in the U.S. Every year, taxpayers pay into systems like Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security Disability Insurance that cover medical costs and lost wages that are not taken care of by workers’ compensation.

After incurring injuries in a workplace accident, employees may be worried about how they will be affected financially. In this situation, injured workers should consider turning to a Chicago workers compensation attorney for assistance asserting their rights to fair and proper compensation.

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