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Worker's Compensation Reform: Can It Affect Your Claim?

By Christopher Coble, Esq. on March 05, 2015 3:52 PM

Two new studies have shown a dramatic decrease in worker's compensation benefits over the last 10 years. And it appears that a system designed to compensate employees for serious on-the-job injuries is being whittled away.

A study by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and joint investigation by ProPublica and NPR combine to paint a dire picture for those injured on the job -- a picture that may be getting worse.

Recent Reforms

A ProPublica chart shows how many states have been scaling back worker's compensation benefits since 2012 and the extent to which benefits have been cut. Legislation in 33 states has not only reduced benefits but made it more difficult to qualify for worker's comp. New laws also created additional hurdles to getting medical care.

This means employers are paying the lowest worker's compensation rates since the 1970s, while employees bear the brunt of the costs of workplace injuries. While some states have been singled out as having the lowest compensation benefits, others might be thinking even lower by allowing companies to opt out of state worker's compensation systems altogether.

Are You Covered?

If you live in a state that has already rolled back worker's comp benefits, or has plans to in the future, these reforms could affect your injury claim. And it starts from the very beginning, when just filing a worker's compensation claim can seem like a process too daunting to even begin.

Many more worker's comp claims are being denied because of stricter regulations, and in cases where you can get benefits, you may be better off filing your own lawsuit than accepting a meager worker's comp award.

All of this can add up to injured workers not getting the benefits they deserve. If you've been injured on the job, there may be things an experienced worker's compensation attorney can do that you probably can't.

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