Considering the dangerous work environment, labor-intensive workers often wonder if going to the job is worth it. Workers can get injured easily in places such as construction sites and warehouses. Many states recognize the efforts of their laborers and work hard to make sure that the workers’ compensation systems that they have in place are effective enough to help injured workers get back on their feet.
What are Workers’ Compensation CompScope Reports?
Workers’ compensation is a form of insurance which provides “benefits to employees injured in the course of employment in exchange for mandatory relinquishment of the employee’s right to sue his or her employer for the tort of negligence.” Benefits can cover lost wages, medical expenses and compensation for economic loss for family members as well as other benefits for loved ones if death of a worker occurs. Massachusetts is the home of the Worker’s Compensation Research Institute (“WCRI”), a not-for-profit research organization, provides information about public policy issues involving workers’ compensation to assist others in improving the existing systems.
The WRCI periodically issues CompScope reports to compare the performance of 16 different state’s systems for workers’ compensation to “help policymakers and other benchmark system performance and “provide an excellent baseline for tracking the effectiveness of policy changes and identifying important trends.” Reports generally track responsiveness to a claim, average total cost per claim, average payment per claim for certain categories and duration of temporary disability. Payments per claim can be made for temporary disability benefits, permanent partial disability benefits, lump sum settlements, vocational rehabilitation use and costs, and benefit delivery expenses. The most recent published report compares the performance of the following states: California, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia, Wisconsin
These states “represent nearly 60 percent of the nation’s workers’ compensation benefit payments.” With the recession, this report is useful by policymakers to see how the economic climate has impacted workers’ compensation systems across the United States. Even the workers’ compensation system in Massachusetts has been affected by the recession and their data is included in the report. Analysis of the report shows that the average costs of workers’ compensation claims has lowered in Massachusetts.
The decline in costs of workers’ compensation claims does not mean that workers are not getting injured in Massachusetts. Filing a workers’ compensation claim can be a complicated process and can be denied for a variety of reasons even though a worker has been burdened with costs due to their work-related injury. Also, there are costs that workers’ compensation systems do not cover.
While injured workers cannot sue their employers, there may be other parties who are liable for a worker’s injuries such as manufacturers or building owners who can help mitigate some of the added expenses. An attorney will be able to assess a worker’s injury to file a successful claim through workers’ compensation and evaluate if claims exist elsewhere.
Source: WCRI’s New Compscope Studies Show Impact of Recession and Reforms in 16 State Workers’ Comp Systems, WorkersCompensation.com, August 10, 2012