One of the messages we try to strongly emphasize on this blog is that workers’ compensation is a critical resource and entitlement for those injured on the job. This is especially the case given that workers’ compensation is, most of the time, the only means for an injured worker to avoid paying for the consequences of a workplace injury out of his or her own pocket.
For employers and their insurance carriers, containing the costs of workers’ compensation claims is an ongoing project, so there is bound to be some tension between employers and insurance carriers, on the one hand, and employees on the other hand. A recent article highlights this tension as it is playing out in the state of Illinois.
As the article points out, business advocates are calling for workers’ compensation reform in Illinois on the grounds that it is too easy for workers to get access to workers’ compensation benefits, which results in higher insurance premiums. The contention is that frivolous workers’ compensation claims are common and must be stopped. Advocates for injured workers’, though, know that businesses don’t necessarily always have an accurate assessment of what constitutes a frivolous claim.
The idea of a frivolous claim, of course, is that a complaint or claim without merit is filed in order to harass or take advantage of the system. When it comes to workers’ compensation claims, it is important for injured workers’ to understand when they may validly file a claim and when they may not meet the threshold necessary to file a workers’ compensation claim. We’ll look at this issue in our next post.