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Workers’ compensation: a bargain that comes with a price

Everybody is aware that one of the benefits they have as an employee is the ability to apply for workers’ compensation for on-the-job injuries. Workers’ compensation benefits are an important resource for injured workers since they provide reasonable and necessary payments for lost wages, medical care, specific loss benefits, and even death benefits.

The ability to file for workers’ compensation benefits does come at a price, though, in that injured workers’ are generally unable to file personal injury lawsuits to hold their employer accountable for their injuries. The idea is that this bargain gives workers more certainty of actually being compensated. What many workers don’t realize is that this bargain sometimes forces them to give up a lot in terms of potential compensation. This is especially true for high-wage earners and those who suffer permanent, crippling injuries. 

Under state law, it is recognized that workers’ compensation is a bargain that often favors employers as much as if not more than workers, and courts are therefore supposed to resolve any doubts about a claim in favor of injured workers. The reality is that this simply doesn't always happen, not only because of specific procedures within the system but also because of the way employers sometimes negatively respond to injured employees’ claims.

Of course, it is very important for injured workers to work with an experienced attorney whenever they run into problems with a workers’ compensation claim. While an experienced attorney is not able to guarantee any particular outcome in any given case, he or she can help ensure that an injured worker’s rights are given the advocacy they deserve.

Source: The Legal Intelligencer, “The Great Tradeoff in Workers’ Compensation Benefits,” Samuel H. Pond and Andrew F. Ruder, September 30, 2014. 

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