The Workers' Compensation Environment
The article linked here, by well-respected Mark Walls of Safety National Casualty Corporation, is one of the best articles (at a high level) of what is good about and challenges faced by the state-based workers' compensation system in the United States. We have literally hundreds of claims presented to self-insured employers for whom we serve as the Third Party Administrator each year where individuals suffer an injury or occupational disease related to their workplace and the workers' compensation system provides for their timely and appropriate medical care. This allows them to return quickly and fully to their pre-injury condition and time of injury job. Very few find a need to involve an attorney...fortunately they are busy recovering and getting back to work.
The quid pro quo of the WC system was to remove the uncertainty and cost of litigation against employers for negligence in exchange for the injured worker to receive 'guaranteed' wage loss benefits and medical care in a 'fault-free' environment, at no cost to the worker. The system continues to do so in most states, with surprising efficiency. The hub of the WC wheel is the workers' compensation adjuster/examiner. If they remain focused upon assisting legitimately injured workers to achieve medical recovery as quickly and fully as possible, it has been our experience that this leads to many fewer individuals seeking the assistance of an attorney and far higher recovery and full return to work rates than compared to those with differing motivations. Going beyond must always be an option. Our goal is to humanize the workers' compensation system. Over the past 14 years this approach has led to tens of thousands of Montana workers' compensation claims presented, handled, concluded and closed...legitimately injured workers getting the care they need and getting their lives back. That this way of doing things from a claims perspective is less costly overall might be an understatement. But it is the 'right' thing to do. And that's what we try to do, day in, day out.