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Why Lawyers Need to Step in Workers’ Compensation Disputes

 

Companies give out coupons and other freebies in part to encourage safety in the workplace and in part, to cut down on workers’ compensation claims. Such a strategy is known to be adapted by many corporations today because the cost of workers’ compensation is the main reason for the high cost of doing business.

Why Coupons May Not be the Best Solution to Workplace Injury
The DuPont Plant is one of the corporations that implement the reward system for safety in the workplace. Basically, they give out coupons to employees who have not had any accidents after a few weeks of working. But no matter the company’s good intent, some workers take advantage of the said reward system by hiding workplace injury just to get the coupons. This may result to fewer workers’ compensations claims that the corporation is currently enjoying.

Also, the safety reward coupons create tension in the workplace because injured workers might get angry if their superiors are informed of their injury. If so, it would mean that they will not get the coupons that they want to have.

However, on the side of the employers, coupons provide a means to determine workers who have been truly injured on the job. These coupons are very useful especially that there are reports of employees filing erroneous workers’ compensation claims. For instance, someone comes in on Monday with a backache and blames it on the job.

What are the shortcomings of the workers’ compensation program?
The multi-million dollars’ workers’ compensation program has a lot of shortcomings especially in terms of delays, suspect doctors and an undeveloped form of justice. Sometimes, workplace discrimination also takes place and that complicates things even further.

Let’s take a look at one of the most prevalent example of the shortcomings of the current system.
In New York, the implementation of workers’ compensation was supposed to help foster workplace harmony by resolving issues on injuries without bringing in the lawyers. It was supposed to be a no-fault insurance program reserved for injured workers.

Today, however, the number of cases filed in state courts is a strong indication that the system is not working as smoothly as once desired. The tension in the workplace is caused by fear and mistrust because both the employers and the employees are angry.

Workers argue that their companies are trying everything to cut back on claims and that would include contesting injuries, firing those who file for benefits, discriminating injured workers and even checking on what workers do at home (an invasion of privacy).

On the other hand, employers argue that since compensation claims are so expensive, they need to take aggressive actions to identify fraudulent claims from genuine ones. According to them, a single injury can cost tens of thousands of dollars today. So a means to cut on the costs is the currently adapted coupon system by most companies. But there are also corporations that implement progressive discipline, which means that workers will face progressive steps if they suffer from repeated injuries with the last step ending in a dismissal. 

Reforms are currently underway to better the workers’ compensation system but there is no clear timeframe as to when these reforms will be seen in print. In addition, it is not clear how much the planned reforms will help ease the tension in the workplace. 

If you need advice and support on matters concerning workers’ compensation, you can visit www.johnfoxassociates.com.

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