The nation’s attention seems to be focused solely on the cost of healthcare lately. Employers have long griped about the rising cost to offer health insurance benefits and have tried to cut corners and save money by either slashing benefits or raising premiums, leaving the burden of cost squarely on their employees’ shoulders.
The same thing seems to be happening to the workers’ compensation system across the country—injured employees receive less under the ruse that their employers are paying more. In fact, quite the opposite has been found—workers’ compensation insurance has actually decreased in price, but employers and lawmakers continue to cut benefits across the board.
As Some States Cut, Pennsylvania Stays Put
While a majority of states have been slashing workers’ compensation benefits, a handful have remained steady or even increased coverage. Pennsylvania has not seen a sweeping cut in the name of reform over the last decade, and has remained in the top 10 states as far as scheduled injury payments.
Take, for example, a worker who loses a foot. The national average payout for the loss of a foot is just under $92,000, while Pennsylvania’s average maximum compensation is an impressive $238,000. In fact, across all major scheduled injuries (loss of limbs, fingers, eyes, ears, etc.) Pennsylvania’s average maximum compensation payout was significantly above the national average.
This disparity in scheduled injury compensation is a strange one. A worker in Pennsylvania who loses an eye at work could receive over twice the amount of a worker with the same injury a short drive away in New York. While it bodes well for injured Pennsylvanians that their coverage is better, it also raises the question of whether all states will eventually be in a race to the bottom to cut workers’ compensation costs.
The Importance of Comprehensive Workers’ Compensation Insurance and Rights for Injured Employees
Unlike any other accident where your health and future is determined by an insurance company and team of doctors working for you, a workplace injury and ensuing treatment is ultimately dictated by your employer and their workers’ compensation insurance carrier. This leaves workers’ wellbeing directly in the hands of the very people trying to cut costs at any cost—and if your employer is not dedicated to your rights as an injured employee, it could spell trouble for you.
You may trust that your employer has your best interest at heart. They have treated you fairly throughout your tenure at the company and seem genuinely invested in your wellbeing. After your injury, you want to believe that they will protect your rights and take care of you until you are able to return to the workforce, but it is this hope that often leaves injured workers in dire financial straits regularly.
Your employer may not be “out to get you” in the traditional sense, but their commitment to providing you with proper coverage may be out of their control. Protect your rights by hiring an experienced, skilled Pennsylvania workers’ compensation attorney to represent you in your workers’ compensation dispute, and help make sure you are cared for medically and financially.
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