Driven by big business and insurers, states nationwide are dismantling workers’ compensation, slashing benefits to injured workers and making it more difficult for them to get care. Meanwhile employers are paying the lowest rates for workers’ comp insurance since the 1970s.
If you suffer a permanent injury on the job, you’re typically entitled to compensation for the damage to your body and your future lost wages. But depending on the state, benefits for the same body part can differ dramatically.
Each state determines its own workers’ compensation benefits, which means workers in adjoining states can end up with dramatically different compensation for identical injuries.
How ProPublica gathered and analyzed state workers’ compensation laws to find out the maximum each states pays per limb.
Despite the drumbeat of complaints about costs, employers are paying the lowest rates for workers’ compensation insurance than at any time in the past 25 years, even as the costs of health care have increased dramatically.
Over the past decade, states across the country have been unwinding a century-old compact with America’s workers: A guarantee that if you are injured on the job, your employer will pay your medical bills and enough of your wages to help you get by. In all, 33 states have passed laws that reduce benefits, create hurdles to getting medical care or make it more difficult to qualify for workers’ comp.