Changes to Workers’ Compensation Programs Hurt Injured Workers

Changes to state-based workers’ compensation insurance programs over the past few years have made it increasingly difficult for injured workers to receive benefits such as coverage for their medical expenses, a report by the Labor Department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration syas.

According to the report, the employers provide only 20 percent of the overall financial cost of workplace injuries and illnesses through workers’ compensation. Ultimately, it is the taxpayers who are subsidizing the vast majority of the income and medical care costs of injured workers.

Even with workers’ compensation benefits, injured workers’ incomes are on average nearly $31,000 lower over a decade than if they had not been injured. Additionally, low-wage workers are injured on the job at a disproportionate rate contributing to the issue of income inequality.

The use of temporary workers and independent contractors reduces incentives for companies to assume responsibility for safe working conditions.

“OSHA has encountered many situations, including some in which temporary workers have been killed, in which employers have chosen to not provide required safety training to temporary workers,” the report says.

About 4,500 workers a year are killed on the job and more than 3 million serious injuries or illnesses are recorded annually on employer logs, according to government data. OSHA says that figure could be far higher because many work-related injuries are not recorded or occur long after exposure to hazardous agents has ended.

The report calls for an increase in prevention of workplace injuries and illnesses and for states to eliminate roadblocks workers face when seeking compensation.

In a second report, an investigation by ProPublica and National Public Radio found that 33 states, including Missouri and Kansas, have passed workers’ compensation laws that have reduced benefits or made it more difficult for those with certain injuries and diseases to qualify for benefits.

In light of these changes, consider legal assistance for your workers’ compensation case. The lawyers at Northland Injury Law have experience in getting you the compensation you deserve for your workplace injury. Call (816) 452-1800 for a consultation today!

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