Workers’ compensation was created to provide employees with a quicker way to receive benefits after being injured on the job, while limiting the potential exposure of employers to negligence actions. As our work injury attorneys understand, the rights of employees often take a backseat to the desire for companies to reduce the cost of their insurance coverage, and you will have to fight for a fair and just recovery.
A recent article discusses how one Miami judge has ruled that state legislatures had reduced medical care and lost wage benefits to the level where workers who have been injured on the job are being deprived of fundamental rights. The judge held that the state law does not provide for benefits commensurate with the current high cost of medical care and does not provide workers with enough money to compensate them for lost wages.
The judge also noted that this workers’ compensation system was not meaningful enough to injured workers to justify the denial of their right to file a civil lawsuit. This speaks to the one recovery rule that prohibits a worker from filing a civil lawsuit if they are entitled to collect workers’ compensation. There are some exceptions to the rule barring a civil suit, if the employer engaged in serious misconduct, or if a third party is also liable for the on-the-job injury. We see this a lot in Boston workers’ compensation cases when an at-fault driver in a car accident injures an employee.
Business owners are, of course, claiming that the high cost of workers’ compensation coverage will slow economic progress, cause workers to be laid off, and cause the price of goods and services to increase. This is not a new argument from businesses; however, it is clear that at least one judge sees workers’ compensation benefits as a fundamental right.
The case discussed in this article involved a clerk who tripped after another employer left boxes on the ground. The worker suffered a minor injury to one of her hips and a severe injury to her shoulder. Doctors performed shoulder replacement surgery following unsuccessful treatments. After the surgery, the employee was in severe pain and could not return to her job.
As discussed above, the workers’ compensation system is supposed to strike a balance between the needs of workers and the needs of employers. However, the judge in this case said that employers had not held up their end of the bargain and asked legislatures to strike down the current laws and give the system a major overhaul.
It should also be mentioned that one of the major advantages to injured employees in a functioning workers’ compensation system is that they do not need to prove that their employer was negligent. They only need to prove that they were injured on the job.
If you are injured on the job in Boston, call the Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Glassman for a free and confidential consultation to discuss your workers’ compensation claim: 1-888-367-2900.
Injured employees cheated by workers’ comp law, Miami-Dade judge says, August 13, 2014, Miami Herald
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Ohio Settles Lawsuit over Workers’ Compensation Premiums, August 4, 2014.