There is a new and disturbing trend starting in this country known as workers’ compensation “Opt Out” legislation.
What is workmans’ compensation “Opt Out” legislation?
These plans claim to “take care of injured workers more effectively, get them back to their families and their work as productive members of society and save incredible amounts of money that create jobs.”
Why is it bad?
However, what has been shown is that those opt-out plans generally cover fewer injuries, cut off benefits payments sooner, control access to doctors and even impose mandatory settlements. Some of these plans exclude things like wheelchair vans which brings great harm to the most seriously injured workers.
In these plans, the employer is being allowed to have absolute and complete control over every aspect of the system with no negotiation, no standards and no due process. These plans also strictly limit payment for catastrophic injuries and death on the jobs.
When workers’ comp was introduced in Georgia, it was part of a grand bargain where employees gave up their right to sue employers in tort for negligence (known as the exclusive remedy doctrine) and employers promised to provided workers’ compensation benefits which included certain due process protections. However, with these opt-out provisions, there is no regulation or due process and employers are allowed to write whatever they desire in benefits.
Where has it been adopted?
Oklahoma and Texas have “opt-out.” The people making money off of this opt-out system are pushing to have it adopted in many other states. There has been a lot of talk over the past couple of years that there is going to be a push to adopt it in Georgia.
This is truly a scary trend for workers and their families in Georgia. Basically, if opt-out is adopted in Georgia, workers’ benefits will be drastically cut with some eliminated without any of the due process protections which are currently in the system. You should call your Georgia senator and representative and tell them to say no to opt-out. – Zack Hendon
If you or a loved one has been injured on the job, call The Hendon Law Firm at our Marietta, Georgia or Atlanta, Georgia office to make sure your rights are being protected and that you are receiving the benefits you deserve.
There has been an excellent series of investigations on NPR that discuss the tragic result opts-out produces: