The System Still Works-Defense of Workers Compensation
The Workers Compensation System still works in defense.After reading articles deriding the Workers Compensation system, I thought something in defense of Workers Compensation would be appropriate. I have often been a critic of certain Workers Comp systems, rules, court decisions, etc.
One article that piqued my interest was The Demolition of Workers Compensation. I could not have disagreed with the article more.
The Insurance Information Institute’s Bob Hartwig (now at the University of South Carolina) sent a letter to the authors of the ProPublica article. ProPublica responded and the war of words began anew.
I wrote three articles to which I still receive hate emails even today. Those articles were:
These articles, and others, were meant to shake up the Workers Compensation industry worker’s mindset so that as the system changes, one can adapt and be successful.
Workers Comp is not going to stay the same year after year. Check out this WCRI article on case shifting due to the Affordable Care Act.
The ProPublica article was written by people that do not understand Workers Comp as a whole. It seems the article decided to look at the trees and not the forest. Using a few unfortunate situations and making blanket statements from them is erroneous at best.
One has to remember that the underpinning of Workers Compensation systems is the no-fault aspect of the agreement between employer and injured employee. The employee cannot sue the employer for negligence just as the employer cannot deny benefits due to the employee’s possible contributory negligence.
There will always be failings in any system including Workers Compensation. However, did any of the critics actually come up with a better system? As the saying goes, it is easier to be a critic of a movie than make the movie.
Mark Walls also responded from a claims viewpoint. It is always good to hear from someone that has actually handled claims from the trenches.
Dave DePaolo did remind us that sometimes the WC industry has to look in the mirror and reassess itself.
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