Former workers’ comp insider says agency sacrificing workers to save employers money

Today’s post was shared by Gelman on Workplace Injuries and comes from www.prairiebizmag.com

FARGO, N.D. — North Dakota has broken its promise to injured workers who rely on workers’ compensation, according to a lawyer who knows the system as a former insider now on the outside.

The bedrock legal promise of providing injured workers “sure and certain” relief in North Dakota has been sacrificed in the interest of saving employers money, Bismarck lawyer Dean Haas argues in an article in the current North Dakota Law Review.

“Employee safety has taken a backseat to saving employers’ money,” Haas wrote in the law review article. “This is evident in nearly every aspect of workers’ compensation in North Dakota.”

Workforce Safety & Insurance, the workers’ compensation program in North Dakota, did not respond in detail to questions prompted by Haas’ law review article.

“Workforce Safety & Insurance is committed to providing injured workers all the benefits they are entitled to receive,” Bryan Klipfel, WSI’s director, said in a statement. WSI did not make anyone available for an interview.

WSI is under the authority of Gov. Jack Dalrymple. A spokesman said the governor has not had a chance to read the law review article, and so was unable to comment by Friday afternoon.

WSI accepts 92 percent of claims, a rate Klipfel said exceeds the rate of similar states. That figure is for initial acceptance, indicating workers’ comp accepts liability, but ongoing claims involve numerous…

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