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Worker's Comp: The Legislation We Forgot
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8/20/2015 6:47:38 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
Worker's Compensation: The Legislation Government Forgot, Exploited by Insurers to Victimize the Victim
-- A legally binding system of insurance for the protection of employees injured on the job. Ensures the payment of medical costs necessary to return the injured worker to full heath. In the case of permanent injury, medical coverage may also be accompanied by compensation for lost wages.
Worker's Compensation dates back to Sumeria, 2050 B.C. Since then, most modernized nations throughout history have employed some sort of policy for workers injured on the job.
One would logically conclude that 4,065 years later, through trial and error, a system as simplistic and straight forward as worker's comp would have all of the bugs ironed out. Unfortunately, as we can see from the American system, this is not the case. In fact, we have recently seen some states approve legislation that HEAVILY favors the insurer. Some states have even gone as far as allowing the insurance company to have a completely anonymous doctor review the injured's medical documents and send back a ruling on if the insurer should pay or cover medical bills or not. This is done without the doctor seeing the injured worker. Other states have completely gotten rid of the judicial contest section; meaning a worker told by an insurer they will get no compensation for loss of wages and even medical bills, can no longer go to court and have a judge determine the settlement.
But this changes from state to state; let's focus on a nation-wide problem. No matter how injured you are, no matter how obvious it is that you are entitled to compensation from the insurance company; the insurer can send as few as 1 single lawyer to court on their behalf to stall the case. Literally to stall the case...as long as possible. A good lawyer can stall the case for years. This happens thousands of times every year.
Why is this done? Because the insurer knows that their bottomless bucket of cash will always outlast the small savings account you have. The insurer's intention with this strategy is to wait for your savings to dry up, your electricity to be shut off, your water to be turned off, your car to be repossessed, your fridge to be empty, and an eviction notice to be pinned to your front door. The expectation being that you will settle for a lump sum that is exponentially lower than what you are entitled to; most of the time it only covers a fraction of your medical bills. As nonsensical as this seems for the injured to do, the insurer knows you will take whatever they offer to pay your bills before you're sleeping on the street. Imagine being injured at work; permanently disabled, without accounting for inflation your estimated medical costs over your lifetime for the injury are $250,000, a drop in the bucket for the insurer. Through the use of stalling tactics in court, your savings dries up and you're forced to settle for a measly $11,000 to keep from starving or becoming homeless.
Why is this allowed? Why has government not enacted legislation to protect the worker from this situation? The only income available to the injured while sitting through judicial stall tactics is unemployment; a couple hundred dollars a week for a maximum of 1 year...that's it.
A bonus question for you: outside of temporary unemployment benefits, how can an injured worker get money to pay his bills and put food on the table while he is waiting through these stall tactics?
P.S. The American's with Disabilities Act (ADA) needs to be looked at as well. Why? Because I have personally experienced time and time again, the pure fear it gives employers. In the past 9 months, I have had more face-to-face interviews than all other interviews throughout my life combined. In these face-to-face interviews, I sit and watch the manager's face light up for 1-2 hours while they and their employees grill me on my knowledge, experience and personality; they look like they just hit the jackpot. Finally comes the closing of the interview where the manager has to go through the generic requirements which always include the possibility of being asked to lift or move some lightweight items; 10-20 lbs; some even tell you flat out "It will never happen, you will never be asked to lift anything, it's just one of those things we have to say during the interview just in case something comes up." At this point, I have to inform them of my injury and the lifting restrictions I have. At that point, I get to watch the managers face go from pure heavenly joy to complete disappointment, a look like the manager just got trolled on a scale never even imagined. At this point the interview abruptly ends, I'm shown the door and I never hear from the job again. Why? Because they are terrified of the nightmare that comes with the ADA.