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You Shouldn't Have To Fight For Workers' Comp Benefits

Study: Courts swayed against injured workers by corporate cash

Justice is blind, or so the ideal holds. That's the message that is intended to be conveyed by the depictions of "Justice" that grace so many court houses around Pennsylvania and the other states of the union. They tend to show a woman holding scales and standing blindfolded.

That's not always the way the system works, of course. There are times, it seems, when thumbs are placed on the scales of justice. There are rules of law in place to help protect against such things, but the system doesn't operate on autopilot. It requires skilled legal strategists to make it work correctly. And having the help of an experienced attorney can be particularly important when a person injured in a workplace accident needs to fight for their due workers' compensation benefits.

Based on one group's recent analysis of state supreme court rulings it appears that depth of legal acumen is more important than ever, as the progressive support offered to the working class by workers' compensation appears to be being eroded by corporate support of judges.

The issue, according to the Center for American Progress, is that so many judges in the United States are elected to their posts, rather than appointed. The group observes that the U.S. is the only country in the world that has such a structure and it says that it has given big business more influence over the law –- exercised by way of hefty judicial race campaign contributions.

To support its claim, the group analyzed decisions from the six state courts that received the most campaign donations in the time frame between 2002 and 2012. In studying nearly 1,500 cases involving personal lawsuits against doctors or employers for workplace injuries, the group found that 70 percent of the decisions went against the individual and for the corporate defendants.

And the group says the balance has tipped even further in favor of businesses in the most recent years. Ohio gets highlighted for having 80 percent of injury cases between 2007 and 2012 being ruled in favor of businesses. In Texas and Alabama, business defendants won 80 percent of all cases in 2011 and 2012.

At the very least, what this indicates is that justice is not a given. It needs to be fought for and the individual deserves the benefit of solid legal champions.

Source: AmericanProgress.org, "No Justice for the Injured," Billy Corriher, May 15, 2013

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