Workers' Compensation -- A Cautionary Tale

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

For Release:
September 20, 2006

Contact: Laurie Beacham
212/267- 2801
Finds Workers Compensation To Be a
Poor Model for Other Programs

New York, NY - A new report released today by the consumer rights group, Center for Justice & Democracy (CJ&D), finds that workers’ compensation programs throughout the country have been devastating for injured workers, leaving them to contend with an adversarial bureaucracy and inadequate benefits that render many destitute.  The report, “Workers’ Compensation – A Cautionary Tale,” calls the workers’ compensation program a “colossal failure.” It also notes, “[t]he real winners are insurance companies, which continue to boast record profits as workers’ benefits are declining.”
“Workers’ compensation is an unfortunate example of how a seemingly fair program can be manipulated by political forces into a nightmare for those it was originally meant to help,” said CJ&D attorney and policy analyst Amy Widman, the report’s author.
“Workers’ Compensation – A Cautionary Tale” closely analyzes the progressive deterioration of the workers’ compensation system since its inception in the early part of the last century, highlighting disturbing trends in several states. The report’s release comes shortly after the 5th Anniversary of September 11, where the plight of many clean up workers who are being denied even meager workers’ compensation benefits for their illness and injuries, illustrates many of the problems workers face in getting claims paid.
The CJ&D Report also brands workers’ compensation a “cautionary tale” about the pitfalls of administrative compensation programs that take away people's right to trial by jury, such as proposed “health courts” for medical malpractice victims.  Citing problems with workers' compensation, the CJ&D Report warns against this idea stating, “Once political forces take over a statutory system, and they always do, it is merely a matter of time before a pro-victim proposal for no-fault compensation is turned into a fault-based, bureaucratic nightmare for the injured person.”
A full copy of the CJ&D National Report, as well as several state reports, can be found at

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