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Warning: Workers' Compensation Bill Imminent

Jeremy Sprinkle
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Time to start calling lawmakers is NOW

At our legislative conference in Raleigh, and at our legislative breakfast and lunches around the state, we advised that a bill would be introduced early this session that would attempt to re-write much of our workers’ compensation to the great disadvantage of workers injured in the service of their employers. Our understanding is that such a bill will be introduced in the House very soon, and that the bill will be even worse than we anticipated. We will be asking you to make many calls this session on this bill (as well as on others, of course, as indeed we already have). This is the first such request on the workers’ comp. bill.

Of course we won’t know exactly what the bill will actually provide until it is filed, but our present understanding is that a current draft would, among other things:

  1. Take away the injured employee’s right to choose his or her own physician and the right to ask the industrial commission to approve a treating physician of his or her own choice ;
  2. Take away the privacy rights of injured workers by allowing the insurance companies (and their attorneys) to talk to the workers’ doctors without their prior knowledge or consent;
  3. Let an insurance company cut of benefits based on a claim that the worker isn’t cooperating with the doctor selected by the company;
  4. Artificially cut off compensation benefits after 500 weeks in most cases, regardless whether the worker has any wage-earning capacity
  5. Require a worker to take a job that pays much less than what he or she was earning when injured.

The hope is that if legislators hear strong opposition to such serious attacks on our workers’ comp. from their constituents even before the bill is filed, it might influence what goes into the bill that will be filed.

Please call or email your Representative as soon as possible and ask him or her to oppose any bill that would reduce the benefits or privacy rights of workers injured on the job!

Click here to look up your elected state Representative. Call the capital switchboard at 919-733-7928 and ask to be connected to his or her office.