Carter Craig, Attorneys at Law

What 2017 holds for workers' comp law

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Workers' compensation could be changing for workers in Virginia and elsewhere in America because of 2016 state and national election results. For instance, some workers' compensation insurance companies may exit the marketplace unless rates are increased. The National Council on Compensation Insurance said that there should be a 20 percent rate increase in the state of Florida. This call came after court rulings changing the law over existing claims.

New York, Illinois and California will be considering workers' compensation legislation in 2017. Florida is also considering whether a cap on attorney fees is unconstitutional as well as considering allowing companies to opt out of the workers's compensation system. New York is considering a two-year cap on temporary total disability benefits. Legislation in Illinois will broadly consider how reform can help grow the economy while California is taking a look at reforms passed by former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and current Gov. Jerry Brown.

Mental illness is a common reason why employees may take short-term disability absences from work. Therefore, companies are creating employee assistance programs and behavioral health programs to help them get better. It is believed that current workers' compensation laws may need to be changed to allow workers with mental health issues access to benefits even if they don't have a physical injury.

Those who are injured on the job may wish to inquire about workers' compensation benefits. If an individual wants to learn more about his or her rights, it may be a good idea to talk to an attorney. Legal counsel may be able to answer questions or provide assistance submitting a claim as well as advocacy at a future hearing if the claim is disputed or denied.

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