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Truck driver advocates concerned about impact of workers’ compensation benefit limitations

Workers’ compensation insurance is a necessary cost of doing business, and employers have to slot a certain amount of their expenditures to insurance payments and claim costs. Because of the expense of workers’ compensation, employers are continually looking for ways to minimize their costs.

A recent Fleet Owner article highlighted the concerning trend of states allowing the workers’ compensation industry to reduce benefits for workers. States with the most work-related fatalities for truck drivers are also, interestingly, states which have been reducing benefits for injured workers. Some experts believe this is more than coincidence, and that it is a sign that the insurance industry is pro-business. 

To be sure, businesses do have a legitimate interest in reducing workers’ compensation costs. Some laudable ways to do this are to ensure workers are properly trained and supervised, establish policies which ensure efficient resolution of workers’ compensation claims, and to set up return-to-work programs that help workers get back on the job faster—provided, of course, the worker is truly ready to do so.

States have implemented a variety of strategies to reduce workers’ compensation costs that could be seen as short-changing workers, though. These include putting caps on the length of time workers are able to receive benefits, limiting the types of injuries covered by workers’ compensation, and limiting injured workers’ choice of physician. Employers might make arrangements to classify certain workers as independent contractors who could otherwise be classified as employees, in order to avoid having to pay workers’ compensation claims when they are injured.  

In our next post, we’ll continue looking at this post, and the importance of workers understanding their rights when they are injured, as well as the role an experienced attorney can play in seeking workers’ compensation benefits. 

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