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Workers' compensation in 2017

Changes in the federal and state political landscape may affect workers' compensation programs. Injured workers in North Carolina should be aware of issues to watch regarding these matters in 2017.

One workers' compensation industry expert states that the new presidential administration, as well as upcoming gubernatorial elections that will take place in 2017, may indicate a change in workers' compensation policy. Because the current administration advocates for less government involvement, certain plans, such as the one recommended by the United States Department of Labor that suggested a reorganization of the workers' compensation system, may be suspended.

Another expert advised that the replacement or repeal of the Affordable Care Act may also affect workers' compensation. As a result of the passage of the legislation, many health insurance providers left the marketplace, which resulted in an increase in prices and a reduction in competition. The expert states that there should be a push for population health wellness instead of the utilization of the current sick care system.

Workers' compensation reform is being considered in four states, including California, Florida, Illinois and New York. Bills that will address previously passed reforms are expected to be proposed in California. Legislators in Florida are contemplating bills pertaining to providing an option to elect out of workers' compensation and the constitutionality of attorney cap fees. The job growth agenda in Illinois also include workers' compensation reform. New York is debating whether to allow a two-year cap on temporary total disability benefits.

An attorney may work to ensure that a client who was injured at work receives the financial resources, such as workers' compensation, that are needed during the recovery period. The attorney may examine the factors that resulted in the injury and may pursue financial damages against an employer for unsafe working conditions or inadequate training.

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