Accidents are an unfortunate fact of life. Given the average forty-hour workweek kept by most Americans, it is a certainty that some accidents will happen in the workplace. In fact, hundreds of thousands of people suffer serious injuries at work each year.
Typically, those employees are covered under a state-mandated program known as workers’ compensation. Every state has a formula for determining payment of medical and disability benefits.
In exchange for giving up the right to sue, employees recovering from being hurt on the job have their medical bills and partial wages paid by their employers. Yet, this important protection has been eroded over the past decade as states have sought to simplify disputes and save money. And the worst part is many workers don’t know their benefits have been dwindling until they get hurt.
Reductions in Benefits
The reductions have been so drastic in some places that injured workers have found themselves fighting with insurance companies for basic care, struggling to stay above the poverty line.
Many states have shrunk the payments to injured workers, shifted control over medical decisions from workers to employers and capped the amount of time the benefits can be received. For example, a 2013 Georgia reform instituted a time limit of eight years of medical care in all but the worst cases. One far-reaching consequence of this change is that workers who have had joints replaced because of workplace accidents may not be covered when the devices wear out.
Lowest Rates Since 1970s
Despite assertions by big business and insurance companies about cost, employers are actually paying the lowest rates for workers’ comp insurance since the 1970s. In Georgia alone, the average premium cost to an employer per $100 of a worker’s wages has dropped $2.12 over the past 25 years.
The reality is that many of the costs have been shifted from employers to taxpayers, who shell out tens of billions of dollars a year through Social Security Disability Insurance, Medicare and Medicaid for lost wages and medical costs not covered by workers’ comp.
If you have any questions about this topic or think your workers’ compensation benefits have been wrongly applied or denied, we can help.
The Mann Law Firm has more than 50 years of experience in representing clients in Georgia workers’ compensation claims. Contact us today by calling (478) 742-3381 in Macon, Dublin, Warner Robbins or Milledgeville, or using our online form. We have the knowledge and the expertise to ensure that your rights are fully protected.