Today, Americans who rely on the workers’ compensation system to treat workplace injuries may be in for a rude awakening. Legal experts report that the workers’ compensation system is failing the very people it was designed to protect, and slipping further into dysfunction. The inevitable outcome is an increase in workers who become permanently disabled and are unable to return to the workforce. You can take some proactive steps if you’ve been hurt at work or if you are struggling to obtain the proper level of care for your existing injuries.
Why the System is Slipping
The number of people receiving disabled worker benefits increased a whopping 75 percent between 2000 and 2012. Experts believe this increase is directly related to the way workplace injuries have changed. In the past, a large portion of workers’ comp injuries were cardiovascular in nature. Today, however, they are primarily related to musculoskeletal issues. Although the predominant nature of injures has changed, the system’s approach to treatment has not. When a worker is injured, the nature and effectiveness of short-term treatment is directly tied to successful recovery. Because the system isn’t focused on the true nature of most injuries, many injured people receive inadequate treatment that leads to permanent disability.
Important Considerations for Workplace Injuries
Most people have little experience with or knowledge of the workers’ comp system. Consequently, once they have been injured, they follow the direction the system gives them. For nonemergency care, the employer generally has the right to decide who you can see for treatment. Your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance carrier is responsible for paying your medical expenses and, in case you are unable to work, temporary or permanent disability.
Although this sounds comprehensive, the system often fails to work the way it was designed. Claim guidelines generally take a very conservative approach, requiring your treatment provider to try less costly alternatives first. In many cases, however, this delay in providing the proper treatment can lead to permanent disability.
If You Believe You Aren’t Receiving Proper Care, Don’t Delay
The Idaho Industrial Commission has an appeals process that can be used, in the event you disagree with your treatment or the decisions of the insurance carrier. Unfortunately, the process is long and potentially drawn out, which could further delay proper treatment and care. In addition, you will need to build your case by gathering evidence and documentation to support your claims. This may be difficult or impossible, especially if your injury has limited your mobility. Most experts suggest engaging the services of an experienced workers’ comp claim lawyer who is familiar with the process in your state.
The Montgomery Dowdle team has decades of experience helping people who have been injured on the job. Today’s workers’ compensation system does not always have your best interests in mind. An experienced attorney can help you understand the benefits to which you are entitled and fight for your health and recovery in your workers comp case.