Tag Archives: Work Injuries

How does Wisconsin “Rank” in Workers' Comp?

Wisconsin scored a B for Workers' Comp, but only because the study did not consider benefit level and ease of obtaining legitimate claims.

 

On a scale of A to F, Wisconsin scored a B on a list of 2011 State report cards released by the Work Loss Date Institute (WLDI).  For the last ten years , the Institute has tracked trends and gives each of the states a grade and a tier ranking based on their performance.

The State report cards are based on data from OSHA forms 300 and 200, on which employers report incidents of injury and illnesses.  The OSHA reports form the basis for state by state rating of workers’ compensation performance, which help employers, insurance carriers, State governments, and workers’ compensation departments to assess and analyze their own programs.

The State report cards emphasize one primary measure of outcome: whether workers get better and go back to work.   One shortcoming of the report is that it does not track medical costs.  Five different outcomes  are measured and compared among the states for each year.

  1. Incidents rates;
  2. Cases missing work;
  3. Median disability durations;
  4. Delayed recovery rate; and
  5. A key condition, or Low back strain

With over ten years of data, the WLDI has enough information over a long enough time frame to differentiate states adequately.  The best performing states were Utah, Arkansas, and Minnesota (graded A).  The worst: Kentucky and New York, with a grade of F.  Wisconsin ranks in the middle tier, graded a B.  States surrounding  Wisconsin include Iowa with a B, Minnesota with an A, Michigan with a B, and Illinois with D.  State ranking can be viewed here.

 

Note: The study is limited in that it does not grade by benefit level or by the difficulty or ease of obtaining workers’ compensation benefits. On this criteria Wisconsin ranks fairly high.  It provides benefits for injuries and illnesses using a “more probably than not”  medical causation standard..  It also provides for mental injuries and does not deny benefits for injuries involving alcohol or drug use, both of which are denied in many states.

 

 

Photo Credit: Maggie Smith / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

 

WCRI: Wisconsin Injured Workers Motivated to Return to Work (Part 1)

Injured workers in Wisconsin are more motivated to return to work-- thanks to the state's workers' compensation system.

With unemployment numbers high, injured workers face increasing challenges in returning to work.  A study by the Workers’ Compensation Research Institute (WCRI) titled “Factors Influencing Return to Work for Injured Workers: Lessons From Pennsylvania and Wisconsin” indicates that those two states have reported better return- to- work outcomes compared to other states, even during economic downturn.

This study focuses on “long term unemployed injured workers” (defined as workers who have been out of work for three months or more). These workers, unlike the vast majority of injured workers highly motivated to return to work after an injury, face particular challenges in returning to work – challenges that are even greater considering economic hard times.

The study tried to identify which worker’s compensation systems features facilitated return to work for long-term unemployed injured workers, and which features serve as barriers to return to work for these workers.

 

The Wisconsin Scenario

Earlier research done by WCRI indicated that workers in Wisconsin have higher rates of return to work, and workers tend to return to work sooner than in other states.  The reason: Employer and injured worker motivation to return to work, as well as multiple Wisconsin workers’ compensation system features.

One of the features which encourages return to work  in Wisconsin is the transition between temporary disability and Permanent Partial Disability benefits. Wisconsin encourages incentives for both the worker and the employer to return workers with permanent restrictions to work, and for injured workers to accept offers of legitimate employment.

 

“The Healing Plateau”

 Unlike many other states, Wisconsin’s clear standards for terminating temporary disability benefits encourages return to work.  As they are effectively communicated by employers and insurers, and well understood by injured Continue reading

Telling your supervisor about an injury is not enough. Here's what else you need to do.

injured workerToday’s post comes to us from our colleague Matthew Funk of New York and is part of an ongoing series of questions and answers about workers compensation.

QUESTION: I TOLD MY SUPERVISOR ABOUT THE ACCIDENT BUT I DID NOT SUBMIT AN ACCIDENT REPORT. AM I GOOD TO GO WITH THE VERBAL NOTICE?

ANSWER: ALWAYS REPORT AN INJURY IN WRITING

Joe was working a construction job when Mike accidentally beaned Joe on the head with a 2X4. After seeing a couple of Tweety Birds and a whole bunch of stars, Joe went down to his supervisor’s station and told him he had just had an accident. Then he went off to the ER to make sure he was not seriously injured, relieved he had taken care of business at the job site. All he had to do now was get better.

No, Joe! No!

Yes, Joe satisfied the notice requirement. However, Joe was NOT good to go.

Supervisors sometimes have a funny habit of forgetting Continue reading

CEO that presided over mining disaster gets golden parachute

The news can be maddening: Critics Say W. Va. Coal Boss Will Get ‘Egregious’ Golden Parachute.

While all the facts are not known, this smells of adherence to the bottom-line of dollars over workers safety. If that was the focus, that is truly unfortunate and borderline despicable. The workers form the backbone of the compay’s profitablility.

Continue reading

Voter fraud?… more like voter suppression.

This coming Tuesday is a hugely important election for the injured workers of Wisconsin. Past history shows that the governing party in our state has a direct impact on the rights and benefits of injured workers.

With the importance of this election looming, I was shocked and angered to see a number of these billboards go up around Milwaukee). (story from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel). Continue reading

Fighting for Workers on Labor Day

A message from U.S. Secretary of Labor, Hilda Solis, in advance of Labor Day: Fighting for Workers This Labor Day . I echo Secretary Solis in the need to focus on the needs and concerns of everyday working Americans. In our own small way at Domer Law, we advocate for the rights of workers each and every day of our practice.

We certainly honor and remain grateful for all those who strive in our country’s ever-changing job market on this upcoming Labor Day.