Injured workers rely on workers’ compensation benefits to cover their costs and losses. In most cases, lawsuits aren’t possible after work-related injuries. Instead, victims get their compensation through an insurance claim made with their employer’s workers’ compensation insurer. The law determines the benefits that workers get through workers’ compensation, including ongoing disability benefits if their injuries have affected their work ability. An Atlanta workers’ compensation lawyer can help injured employees to get these benefits, which they need to support themselves if their injuries affected their ongoing ability to earn a living.
Unfortunately, troubling new evidence suggests that not all workers are necessarily being treated equally under the workers’ compensation system. The New Yorker recently published an article indicating that women may be discriminated against in the workers’ compensation system on the basis of their gender. If this is true, this is bad news for female workers who could get hurt and end up not getting as much compensation as they truly deserve based on the extent of their workplace injuries.
Are Women Workers Getting Reduced Atlanta Workers’ Compensation Benefits?
The New Yorker article provided several examples of how women may be disadvantaged by the workers’ compensation system. One of the issues relates to the fact that there is a strong likelihood a woman will be examined by a male doctor after she suffers a workplace injury.
Doctors can determine the level of injury and impairment, which can directly affect the workers’ compensation benefits of injured employees. When women sustain injuries, they may be told to undergo an examination by a specialist in the particular type of injuries they sustained. When it comes to the specialty doctors who conduct examinations for most of the common work injuries, only around three percent of the doctors are women in certain fields. If a woman is being examined by a male doctor, he may be more likely to underestimate the extent of her impairment, as compared with a male patient.
Another issue is that there are situations in which women are actually being told that they will receive less in compensation for the same injuries that a man would have received. This is in connection with injuries like carpal tunnel syndrome and repetitive stress injuries. Women, and especially older women, are viewed as being more susceptible to suffering these kinds of injuries. It is commonly claimed that since there are multiple possible risk factors for women to develop carpal tunnel and joint-related injuries, that they should get less in benefits because the extent of harm traceable to work is reduced. Women in California have actually filed a class action lawsuit over this issue, but New Yorker indicates that similar things may be going on nationwide that affect the rights of female employees injured on-the-job.
Women (and men) both need to ensure they are getting the maximum compensation available through their workers’ comp claims. Since you are counting on this money, you cannot afford to get a reduced payment. Getting legal help can be beneficial in ensuring that you get what you deserve if you get hurt at work.
Parsons & Associates, P.C. is an Atlanta workers’ compensation law firm serving Atlanta, Savannah, and surrounding areas throughout Fulton County. Contact Parsons & Associates, P.C. today at 770-422-9000 or contact us online if you have been injured at work.