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Are injured workers getting the benefits they need?

Workers in West Virginia and elsewhere are often required to take on taxing and dangerous roles. While these tasks might fall under the description of their job, employers are also required to take steps to increase safety in the work environment and reduce the number of injuries in the workplace. Nonetheless, serious and sometimes debilitating on-the-job injuries occur.

Thus, workers' compensation benefits are often necessary to help an injured worker address the losses associated with the incident, such as medical bills and lost wages. However, these government program benefits are not so easily obtained. In fact, some injured workers find it difficult to get the workers' comp benefits they need and often feel they are entitled to.

Are injured workers getting the benefits they need? According to a report released by the U.S. Department of Labor, the workers' compensation system is failing at providing injured workers with adequate benefits. Therefore, these workers are a greater risk of failing into poverty.

The results of this report have laid groundwork for renewed and revised federal oversight of state workers' comp programs. While many states are drafting legislation to address the troublesome findings of this report, others are being urged to take further action to protect injured workers and their rights.

Typically, when a worker is injured, these benefits kick in as a means to pay for medical bills, a portion of lost wages and compensate the worker for any permanent disabilities. In turn, a worker is barred from suing his or her employer. But, it has been found that the benefits awarded vary drastically from state to state, even for the same type of injury. Therefore, it is suggested that steps should be taken to ensure that workers are treated fairly and equally when injured on the job.

When suffering an injury on the job, the matter can become very complex. It can be challenging for an employee to properly navigate his or her situation and effectively protect their rights. Thus, it is might be helpful to seek advice from an experienced attorney.

Source: Propublica.org, "U.S. Labor Department: States Are Failing Injured Workers," Michael Grabell, Oct. 5, 2016

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Stephen P. New, Attorney at Law
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Beckley, WV 25801

Phone: 304-250-3280
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