Journalism in the Public Interest

What Happens When Americans Are Hurt on the Job? Help ProPublica Investigate
by Terry Parris Jr.
ProPublica, Mar. 4, 2015, 5:00 am

Flickr photo via billjacobus1.

In Alabama, if you lose an eye during the course of a workday, the most you’ll receive under the state’s workers’ compensation laws is $27,280. If you work in Pennsylvania, that same eye would be worth $261,525 — almost 10 times as much. For the past decade, Democratic and Republican legislatures across the country have chipped away at workers’ comp. Since 2003, 33 states have passed laws reducing benefits or making it more difficult to qualify. One state caps benefits to some disabled workers at $220 a week. Could you—or your family—live on $220 a week?

As part of our ongoing investigation, we invite you—whether you are an injured worker, claims adjuster, an employer or lawyer—to tell us about your experience navigating the workers’ comp system. Have something we should look into? Fill out the form below and we may be in touch. If you have an idea to fix workers’ comp, lower costs or help injured workers return to work, we’d love to hear that, too.

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More on This Investigation

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A new Department of Labor report says cuts to state workers’ comp systems have left injured workers with inadequate benefits and raises the specter of federal oversight. The findings echo those of a ProPublica and NPR investigation last year.

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A national campaign led by Walmart, Lowe’s and other big companies to let employers opt out of workers’ comp insurance was dealt a blow after the Oklahoma Supreme Court ruled such plans unconstitutional.

Corporate Campaign to Ditch Workers’ Comp Stalls

An Oklahoma commission ruled that a state law allowing companies to “opt out” of workers’ comp and write their own plans was unconstitutional while similar bills in other states lose steam.

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Tyson Foods’ Secret Recipe for Carving Up Workers’ Comp

Over the past 25 years, the giant meatpacking company has taken a lead in pushing for changes in workers’ comp in state after state — often to the detriment of workers.