The true story please read

Author Subject: The true story please read
John C. Posted At 14:26:23 06/21/2001
Senator Wellstone and Senator Reid, I wanted to share with you the article above that Consumer Reports Magazine ran on Workers Compensation. I also wanted to share some of my feeling after trying to help injured workers receive adequate beneftis from the system. There was a time that I really believed that the system was fair to workers, I have learned that the system has failed to protect injured workers and there is not an agency that you can go to for help. Nor is there an Ombudsman that can help you if you decide to file a complaint with the EEOC or with the DOL Civil Rights Section.

Everyone just ignores the fact that injured workers in this nation are not getting proper or adequate benefits in many situations. The system started going wrong in the early 1990's and many state legislatures passed laws to cut insurers' costs At the same time that these laws were passed, the EEOC and FEPA's had a tremendous backlog of charges that needed to be processed and they went to a method of expediting their charges to get rid of their backlog. Many workers that feel that they have been discriminated against feel that going to a FEPA or the EEOC is just a waste. Many of these workers suffer in silence because they feel that their situation is hopeless and there is no one on the federal/state side that really cares about worker issues. Even the workers that are in unions feel that they can get no help by our system.

The laws that were passed have generated profits for insurers and hugh savings for employers at the expense of providing adequate benefits to injured workers. Some of the laws that were passed make absolutely no sense and we end up cost shifting what should be a legitimate workers compensation expense to other employer or federal/state programs.

The problem in many states is that the insurance industry has a powerful lobby, the lobbies that care about workers are not as well funded or as powerful. Workers comp. seems to be effective if you have a medical only claim and are not required to miss much time from work. However, if you are seriously injured, workers comp. typically is not providing the safety net that it was intended to provide. Many years ago, a trade off was made, employers agreed to provide medical care and a small stipend to offset lost wages and employees agreed not to sue their employers if they received workers' compensation. Yet both side are dissatisfied with the system.

In my home state, many workers are forced to go on SSDI, retire, and some even talk to me about wanting to kill themselves because they can't get help. If they try going to our FEPA, their charge is usually dismissed rather quickly. The agencies just don't seem to care about workers and workers' compensation is not just like any other insurance. The safety net that was promised to injured workers is not there. Most injured workers rather be working, and it is devasating to be unemployed or underemployed because pre-accident employers on longer see you as "whole". It is devastating to see your family break up and to lose your home,it is devastating to have to beg to get help from our system.

One injured worker was so frustrated in Las Vegas, that he actually drove his truck through the former State Fund. Interesting enough, a few former state workers filed stress claims after this incident. Now it is just about impossible to have a compensable claim in Nevada, for work related depression, anxiety or PTSD. You have to jump through so many loops and very few situations will be compenable. We even had a situation where a woman was sexually violated at gunpoint, at work, and her insurer denied her claim.

I used to believe that the ADA, which is supposed to protect workers with serious physical impairments that limits a major life activity, would be there to help. However, what I have encountered is that most ADA charges are found to be non-probable cause and are just dismissed with no investigation. Luckily, some employees have been able to retain counsel and take their employer to court, but the sad fact is most employees are not able to retain counsel especially if they happen to be a state employee. A few states have passed strong state ADA laws, but not enough to make a difference.

Is there a way out of this terrible mess called workers' compensation??? I think what most workers want is a chance to return to meaningful employment. Especially the middle age workers that have a more difficult time finding suitable light duty. I strongly believe that by humanizing the workplace is a good place to start. Studies would suggest that workers that feel valued and appreciated file fewer claims. The sad part is that everyone is losing by our current system and injured workers are being cheated and not receiving adequate benefits. Workers comp. was intended to be fair to both sides are current system is not fair and is destroying life's and to many elected officials and agencies just ignore the problem without making proactive suggestions for improvement.
Del Re: The true story please read (Currently 0 replies)
Posted At 17:14:04 06/21/2001

John C.

I am a cofounder of Injured Workers' Alliance (Oregon) Could you please contact me at
Tarzan Re: The true story please read (Currently 0 replies)
Posted At 17:49:50 06/21/2001

Well put. It's cheaper to settle in court for 5-10 cents on the dollar. And the laws back the people with the most money and time, which translates into the insurance company's.

They also try to shift the burden to the Social Security System. Both medical and the 1000 dollars a month to live on. Plus whatever you can make at McDonalds.

Don't think for an instant, there is any job in retraining at some diploma mill.

And of coarse the option to work in pain, no matter how much it hurts.
Michael W. Beck Re: The true story please read (Currently 0 replies)
Posted At 07:55:58 07/04/2001

I beleive all or most of us here have true stories. The problem is we are the the
falling tree's in the forest.We are cracking spitting apart and crashing to the ground but.
But like the tree we makes no noise.Because there's no one out there that's listening.
going to listen.
Like CA Insurance Commision who's who's job it is to over see all Insurance Company's
All but WC.
I know there's fraud out there.But those monsters are created by the crooked doctors and lawyer's
Doctor's go to school for years. Don't you think they learned enough to know the difference between
a injured person and one thats not or to what degree there injured.Of course they do.
But most company doctors went to different schools,or maybe they never went
because never find anything wrong.
So all you have to do is hire a lawyer because they know how to find those doctors that went to the other kind of school.
You know the ones who finds whats wrong right away.
So your best bet is ask around or call around and find your doctor.

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