Following a recent investigation by ProPublica and National Public Radio, it has been reported that one of the largest meat processors in the world, Tyson Foods, has taken great lengths to reduce their obligations to the injured worker. Since workers’ compensation is not overseen by the Federal government, each state mandates its own insurance programs. Big corporations, such as Tyson Foods, work behind the scenes using their economic influence to disrupt and undermine the workers’ compensation system in multiple states to protect their corporate profits.
“How do they do this?”, you may ask. One of the best ways is by having a self-insured workers’ compensation program where the Employer pays nearly all of their claims out of their own pocket. This gives them a great say in what they have to pay. There are even a few states where the Employer is able to “opt out” of participating in a workers’ compensation program all together by creating its own benefit plan to handle all of their workers’ comp claims. This allows them to have complete control over medical and processing of the injured workers’ claim. These big corporations claim that these “strategies” allow them to provide better medical care for the employees with doctors who know that particular company’s business and are thus able to get the injured worker back to work faster. They also claim that it helps them become more knowledgeable and aware of unsafe conditions within their company.
However, they do not stop there. These big corporations use their influence in the political arena as well, by encouraging revisions to the workers’ compensation laws giving employers more influence over medical care or increasing the injured workers’ burden of proof thus making it harder for employees to get an unbiased diagnosis and making it easier for the Employer to deny necessary treatments. Some have even gone as far as pushing to have judges who are more sympathetic to the injured worker replaced with judges who support big business.
With recent changes to workers’ compensation programs in many states the results have resulted in reduction of the injured workers’ income benefit payments, providing more control to the Employer and Insurance companies over medical care and decision making and increased obstacles for employees with certain injuries to qualify for benefits.
If you or someone you know has been injured at work and are fighting to get benefits or medical treatment, contact The Law Offices of Laura Lanzisera and let us work for you. We will work hard and fight to get the benefits you are entitled to under Georgia law.