Posted by Del on January 05, 2000 at 13:14:19:
In Reply to: Re: Receiving WC to cover injury expenses posted by Sally on January 03, 2000 at 17:42:28:
The original concept of exclusive remedy is that expenses relating from injuries in the workplace are covered no matter who's at fault. This is referred to as "no fault". Employers and their ins. carriers were supposed to "take care" of the injured worker and therefore would be exempt from a lawsuit even if the employer caused the injury through negligence or were in violation of safety laws at the time.
What is "evolved" is that state legislatures have tweaked the system especially in the 90's to bring down premiums. There's a lot of competition between states to bring in and keep employers. Also re-election campaign motives play a factor since money wins elections and businesses have money.
Government has tightened eligibility requirements and here in Oregon adopted the 51% standard. In other words the totality of your injury must be 51% caused specifically by the workplace injury. What is common now is that the ins. carrier will argue that pre-existing conditions are responsible for more than half. Degenerative disk disease is used a lot. Unfortunitely, everyone's body develops this naturally so what has resulted is that workers have a legal standard that results in injury claims being lost through the separate court system for injured workers that has been manipulated, and is controlled by state government. This "degenerative disk" excuse is used on workers once they reach their late 20's; as they age from there the odds of an insurance company/employer winning with this line of defense become considerably greater.
What I'm saying is that the worker is already being punished for simply getting older. This is age discrimation except it's in all practicality legal when workers comp. in involved.
Also, insurance companies have used the "worker was at fault" defense on many people we talked to. In one case they said a workers Irish-American Indian ancestry was introduced in court. The ins. was implying that he had a "gene related" drinking problem (he didn't, and no proof was even submitted).
I could name several other instances where the concept of "no fault" was ignored by the Governor appointed and state regulated Administrative Law Judges (ALJ) who don't even need a law degree.
So yes Sally, employers are liable "but at a great advantage per present laws" for injuries.
And yes, in reality the worker is held responsible for doing something that "THE PRESENT WC SYSTEM SAYS" caused their own injury?
AND THAT'S GETTING OLDER.
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