Mississippi Workplace Injury Attorneys Discuss the Fight Over Worker’s Compensation Laws
Did you know that companies are trying to undermine worker’s compensation laws across America? There is a national campaign taking place that calls for a rewrite of state workers’ compensation laws. The revised laws could contain provisions that would allow businesses to decide how to care for their injured workers. It is easy to see how allowing companies to decide for themselves how they treat injured workers could negatively impact workers who get hurt on the job at those workplaces that use their own policies and procedures to handle workplace injuries instead of using the standard worker’s compensation system that is currently mandated by law.
Fortunately, the momentum of the campaign has been stalled, at least temporarily. The Oklahoma Supreme Court recently ruled that a version of a revised worker’s compensation law that was passed in 2013 in Oklahoma is unconstitutional. Under that law, employers could “opt out” of the state worker’s compensation system by writing their own plans that set forth practices for reporting injuries, getting medical care, settling claims, and so on.
Companies like Wal-Mart, Lowe’s, and Hobby Lobby are supporting similar initiatives in other states, including Mississippi. The companies argue that the plans that they would design on their own would give workers better care, pay claims faster, and decrease insurance premiums for workers, among other things. Unfortunately, it is not possible to know whether these things would actually happen until we could see them in action.
In the case that was recently decided in Oklahoma, an employee of a store that had its own worker’s comp benefit plan was injured. The company ended up denying the woman’s claims, claiming that a pre-existing condition, not an activity related to her work, caused her injuries.
It is possible that legislation in other states that is similar to the law that was recently deemed unconstitutional in Oklahoma could be struck down by those state Supreme Courts. Declaring those laws invalid would benefit workers because the employer-created plans that exist often include strict procedures for reporting injuries, restrictions on where injured workers can get care, how claims are settled, and the like.
The ruling of the Supreme Court of Oklahoma favors the injured employee, stating that opt-out plans were unconstitutional because they treat one group of injured workers, the workers at the company that has the opt-out plan, differently from all of the other injured workers in the state. With its ruling, the court sent the case back to the state’s workers’ compensation commission. The commission will determine whether the injury was work-related. If it is, the commission will decide what benefits, if any, the woman will receive.
Giddens Law Firm, P.A.: Support for Injured Workers
If you or someone that you love got hurt at work, a Mississippi Workplace Accident Attorney can help you pursue physical and financial recovery by filing a worker’s compensation claim. Your attorney will guide you through the claims process as they work to resolve your claim promptly, in a manner that gives you a fair settlement. If you have questions about Mississippi workplace accident law, call the Workplace Accident Attorneys of the Giddens Law Firm, P.A., at (601) 355-2022, today.
Giddens Law Firm, P.A.
226 N. President St.
Jackson, MS 39201