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Some companies want workers' compensation to be optional

Across the country, some businesses are campaigning for the right to set their own guidelines for dealing with injured workers. These businesses want the option to refuse workers' compensation insurance for their employees and write their own compensation plans. However, courts in California and other states are deciding whether those plans violate state constitutions.

Workers' compensation is a system that was developed to protect businesses from getting sued when employees are injured on the job. In lieu of litigation, injured employees are given medical care and compensated for their lost wages. With plans proposed by many businesses, the companies decide what injuries are covered and choose the doctors an employee can see. One company required workers to report an injury before the workday ended while workers' compensation allows 30 days to make a report.

Investigations into these individual plans found that they frequently provide fewer benefits than workers' compensation. Advocates for workers' rights see the opt-out efforts as an affront to the American worker. Supreme Court justices in some states found them to be unconstitutional because injured employees who do not have the benefit of workers' compensation would be treated differently from those who do.

As the states battle over the rights of workers, those in California can be assured that a dedicated attorney will fight for them. While workers' compensation is designed to protect those who are injured on the job, sometimes it takes legal experience to maneuver through the complicated system. Injured employees can focus on recovering when an attorney is working to get the best possible results for their cases.

Source: npr.org, "Oklahoma Supreme Court Says Companies Can't Set Own Rules For Injured Workers", Michael Grabell, Sept. 13, 2016

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