They may seem like harsh words but the tide has turned dramatically and the injured worker is now treated as a lowly criminal in many instances.
Given New York State’s dismal economic environment, the battle cry by politicians and employers is one of fraud and malingering. Nothing could be further from the truth. Unfortunately, New York State businesses including wealthy insurance companies have the financial means to pay lobbyists and influence lawmakers.
The injured workers’ rights to secure necessary medical treatment and lost wages have all but evaporated. Even the media has taken the side of big insurance. Almost every article printed on the topic of Workers’ Compensation in New York State will echo sentiment that most Workers’ Compensation claimants are not really injured or are exaggerating the nature of their injuries for financial gain. Even physicians and chiropractors who treat Workers’ Compensation patients are often accused of recommending treatment which is “excessive” or unnecessary. The problem is that our legislature has lost sight of the fact that the true victims are the injured workers; not big business or big insurance.
The injured worker who is trying to secure necessary medical treatment and lost wage benefits should not be treated like a criminal. A minuscule percentage of Workers’ Compensation claimants are actual malingerers. Fraud is nowhere near as rampant as the Insurance propaganda would have you believe. The reality is that the injured worker has no voice and has been relegated to a second-class citizen.