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Published On: Tue, May 3rd, 2016

Wide Variety of Workers’ Compensation Laws Creates Unfairness

One of the most fascinating things about the United States is that there are so many of them, and each one can have its own set of laws. This has allowed Montana to make different decisions about what is important than Pennsylvania, and have laws that represent those differences. It gives individual states the ability to try things out and experiment and, if it works, pave the way into the future for the other states in the union. However, when each state has its own set of laws, the same set of circumstances in one state can be treated completely differently in another state.

Unfortunately, this is the case with workers’ compensation laws. And the differences between how Pennsylvania treats injured workers from how another state treats them can be so extreme that the result is nothing short of unfair.

photo ijmaki via pixabay

photo ijmaki via pixabay

Workers’ Compensation Laws Categorize Worksite Injuries

One thing that the workers’ compensation law of every state has in common is their categorization of workplace injuries. The main groups are impairments, which are physiological or psychological, and disabilities, which are physical.

Other categories that States use are based on the body part and the particular injury, from severed fingers to broken ankles to a fractured spine. States then specify in their laws the maximum dollar amount that can be recovered in a workers’ compensation claim for that body part, essentially stamping parts of your body with a number representing how much it would be worth, it was hurt in a workplace accident.

Wide Variation Between States Make Workers’ Compensation Claims Unfair

Unfortunately, because each state is in charge of its own set of workers’ compensation laws, they are far from uniform. In fact, there is so much variation between those in one state from those in another that the amount you can get for the same injury suffered in one state can be a mere fraction of what you could have received in another state.

For example, the maximum compensation that you could get if you lose a hand while on the job can vary from $738,967, if you got hurt in Nevada, down to a pittance of $37,400 if you got hurt in Alabama. This inequality is only getting worse, too. Some states have workers’ compensation laws that do not account for inflation, and have been on the books for decades.

Employers Actively Seek States With Low Maximum Payments

Naturally, the companies and employers who are most likely to be at the receiving end of a workers’ compensation claim do all they can to perform as much of their most dangerous work as possible in the states that have low maximum payments. Unfortunately, with so few employment options out there, many people follow these jobs into states where they will be far from adequately covered for a workplace accident.

Workers’ Compensation Attorneys That Look Out for You

All told, the maximum compensation that the state of Pennsylvania offers to workers injured on the job within its borders is above average. However, it can still take a highly skilled workers’ compensation attorney to make that potential compensation a reality.

Guest Author: Lolita Di

About the Author

- Outside contributors to the Dispatch are always welcome to offer their unique voices, contradictory opinions or presentation of information not included on the site.

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  1. Dina Padilla says:

    Correction, DOL not SOL. Dept of Labor.
    BTW; Since the insurance carriers have full control of meting our medical care with the ACA, the level and type of medical care is what happened in workers compensation. One cannot say anything other than what the doctor asks for or decides what to write out as a diagnosis or treatment. Patients words don’t count.
    Then the insurer can deny deny A& deny the right medical treatment.

  2. Dina Padilla says:

    The reasons worker compensation laws are allowed to be unfair is because of Congress not having federal oversight coming out of the 1972 National Workers Compensation Commission. Senator Bernie Sanders & 9 other senators & Congress members initiated a letter to Congress about two states wanting to opt out of WC., why the SOL no longer keeps statistical data on injuries. illnesses or deaths on the job since 2005 & why many injured or ill workers are forced to go on SSI or SSDI instead of receiving full WC benefits. Not until the federal government intercedes and has complete oversight over all workers in workers compensation, the states & their WC laws will continue to be unconstitutional with bad WC laws & totally harmful for injured/ill workers, past , present or future.

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