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Occupational diseases make for difficult in workers' comp claims

 

Always beware someone suggesting that the reason a process is especially arduous is because of the risk of fraud. Workers' compensation coverage for injury claims is sufficiently difficult. In Wisconsin and most states, there are forms you have fill out and time limitations you have to meet.

However, assuming you suffered a broken leg on a construction site or a gash that required stitches from a warehouse injury, the process is relatively straightforward. On the other hand, if you developed an occupational disease from exposure to toxic chemicals in your plant, your recovery, if any, may be far from straightforward.

 

The reason, it is alleged by one spokesperson for the insurance industry, is that insurers have to be "careful" to guard access to the system. Clearly, this is because there are vast numbers of workers likely to claim they have suffered some rare disease associated with toxic exposure to chemicals manufactured or used in industrial plants

This sleight of hand does not make the workers any less injured or dead. But what it does do is shift the cost of these occupational illnesses and diseases to the taxpayer, and allows the insurance companies and their clients to earn greater profits.

The denial of claims or the long, drawn-out battles for workers' compensation benefits not only leaves workers and their families financially crushed under the burden of medical bills and other healthcare-related expenses but has another, equally insidious result.

The shifting of the cost of this medical care away from the company that caused the harm means they have no financial incentive to change their business practices and prevent other workers from equally tragic deaths.

Source: publicintegrity.org, "Disease victims often shut out of workers' comp system," Jamie Smith Hopkins, November 4, 2015

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