One of the few comforts available to workers injured on the job is the expectation that one’s employer will look after their needs during recovery. Workers’ compensation laws, on the books in Wisconsin for a century, theoretically guarantee employees’ rights to financial help while recovering for work-related health problems. But the guarantee does not always relieve workers’ concerns.
Wisconsin’s three-person Labor and Industry Review Commission has ruled on hundreds of workers’ compensation cases. Although an administrative judge ruled a victim of a serious workplace injury as permanently disabled, the commission denied relief beyond three months after the incident in question. This was in line with the employer’s claim that the worker could have returned.
Rulings like this have been overturned by the Commission twice as much in 2016 as 10 years earlier. More than half of all disability rulings in Wisconsin were reversed between 2014 and 2016. These injured workers are not finding the same comfort as nearly 5,000 workers who see their injury claims settled before a hearing.
In general, workers’ compensation in Wisconsin is looking up. Insurance rates paid by employers for possible claims have never been lower since the 1970s, and the Badger State bucked a national trend by increasing some benefits like the amount of wage replacement for disabled workers.
An attorney can help sort out the confusion of a denied worker’s compensation claim or the reversal of a favorable ruling later in the process. Legal representation may increase employees’ chances of fair compensation as well as reduce the time that families wait for precious benefits that can help them recover from a workplace accident.