Does the System Take Care of Injured Workers?
On average, according to a recent government report, companies pay only about 20 percent of the lost wages and medical bills that injured workers incur.
Texas is one of only two states where employers can opt out of the no-fault insurance system. Although not carrying workers’ compensation leaves companies open to negligence lawsuits, many firms are willing to take the risk. As a result, the workers’ compensation system is dangerously underfunded. At the same time, states have dramatically scaled back on benefits. According to the study, one worker had to go to the first-aid clinic 94 times before the company finally approved a doctor visit.
Overall, fewer than 40 percent of injured workers receive any benefits at all. The reasons for the statistics vary. Many times, however, the insurance adjuster denies reasonable claims, blaming them on a preexisting injury. As a result, a workplace injury is financially crippling for many families. In the decade after the accident, injured workers see their earnings fall by an average of $31,000.
One observer speculated that only if companies had to bear more of the financial burden would they have an incentive to make workplaces safer.
About a hundred years ago, at the beginning of the industrial revolution, workers and management entered into the so-called “grand bargain”: injured employees gave up their right to sue negligent employers in court in exchange for no-fault insurance that paid their economic damages.
Although inefficiencies and inequities in the system have resulted in smaller and smaller payments, injured workers may still receive compensation due to a:
- Trauma injury, like a broken leg or head injury, as well as an
- Occupational disease, such as a repetitive stress disorder or chronic joint pain.
An attorney can obtain fair compensation that includes cash for lost wages and medical bills. To determine future losses, an attorney often partners with an accountant or other financial professional.
In Texas, it is not unusual for claims to be denied at first. At a later full hearing, a lawyer can advocate for you and, in many cases, obtain results that exceed your expectations.
If you or a loved one was injured at work, contact an experienced personal injury attorney in New Braunfels at The Bettersworth Law Firm for a free consultation. We do not charge any upfront legal fees in workers’ compensation cases.