The workers’ compensation system is broken — and it’s driving people into poverty

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Today’s post was shared by Gelman on Workplace Injuries and comes from

This article from March is a helpful snapshot of what was an eventful week in the fight for workers’ compensation benefits. As is written below: “Fewer people are getting hurt on the job. But those who do are getting less help.”

I found it striking that the U.S. Department of Labor discovered that not only do low-wage workers have high rates of injury, but also “that injuries can slice 15 percent off a person’s earnings over 10 years after the accident.” So, it’s the people who can afford it the least who are suffering the most.

The concern of people who are really employees being misclassified as independent contractors not entitled to benefits, along with a huge rise in temporary workers, is also troubling.

As a reminder, someone has to pay when people are injured through incidents in the workplace, and if it’s not businesses or their insurance companies through the workers’ compensation system, it’s likely to be taxpayers.

“When a worker ends up unable to work because of an injury, he or she can be covered by Social Security Disability Insurance, a program that has steadily increased in cost over the past two decades. The rise has many demographic factors behind it, but it looks like the abdication of responsibility by employers may have played a role as well.”

In addition to reading the excellent article from The Washington Post that is below, here are some links to blog posts that have discussed some of the issues raised in this article: Examining Workers’ Compensation Costs to Employers; The Effects of Not Working; and Workers’ Compensation “Reforms” by State Have Costs, Too.

There’s a good news/bad news situation for occupational injuries in the United States: Fewer people are getting hurt on the job. But those who do are getting less help.

That’s according to a couple of important new reports out Wednesday on how the system for cleaning up workplace accidents is broken — both because of the changing circumstances of the people who are getting injured, and the disintegration of programs that are supposed to pay for them.

The first comes from the Department of Labor, which aims to tie the 3 million workplace injuries reported per year — the number is actually much higher, because many workers fear raising the issue with their employers — into the ongoing national conversation about inequality. In an overview of research on the topic, the agency finds that low-wage workers (especially Latinos) have disproportionately high injury rates, and that injuries can slice 15 percent off a person’s earnings over 10 years after the accident.

“Income inequality is a very active conversation led by the White House,” David Michaels, director of the Occupational Health and Safety Administration, said in an interview. “Injuries are knocking many families out of the middle class, and block many low-wage workers from getting out of poverty. So we think it’s an important component of this conversation.”

There are two main components to the financial implications of a workplace injury. The first is the…

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The offices of Rehm, Bennett, Moore & Rehm, which also sponsors the Trucker Lawyers website, are located in Lincoln and Omaha, Nebraska. Five attorneys represent plaintiffs in workers’ compensation, personal injury, employment and Social Security disability claims. The firm’s lawyers have combined experience of more than 95 years of practice representing injured workers and truck drivers in Nebraska, Iowa and other states with Nebraska and Iowa jurisdiction. The lawyers regularly represent hurt truck drivers and often sue Crete Carrier Corporation, K&B Trucking, Werner Enterprises, UPS, and FedEx. Lawyers in the firm hold licenses in Nebraska and Iowa and are active in groups such as the College of Workers’ Compensation Lawyers, Workers' Injury Law & Advocacy Group (WILG), American Association for Justice (AAJ), the Nebraska Association of Trial Attorneys (NATA), and the American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA). We have the knowledge, experience and toughness to win rightful compensation for people who have been injured or mistreated.

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