Workers Comp Matters

Alternative Benefit Systems and the Future of Workers’ Compensation

August 25, 201621 min
Due to recent constitutional challenges to workers' compensation in certain states, a nationwide debate among legal professionals has been ignited. How has this system evolved over time and in what ways might it change in the future? In this episode of Workers Comp Matters, guest host Judson Pierce speaks with Workers Injury Law & Advocacy Group President Alan Pierce about the future of the American workers’ compensation system. Alan talks about the recent scrutiny that workers’ compensation has been under and how increased visibility has sparked a national conversation regarding the system’s effectiveness. He reflects on the 1911 enactment of state-based workers’ compensation systems and lists the safety-focused goals of the institution. Alan analyzes the federal government's 1970s involvement in the system, mainly through the establishment of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, and the national commission report issued in 1972 that broadened and increased benefit coverage. He explains how costs associated with the system eventually increased as benefits expanded and how this led to system reform in many states. Alan closes the interview by discussing the recent challenges to the constitutionality of the workers’ compensation system in some states and an investigation of the problems with employer established alternative benefit systems. Alan S. Pierce has served as chairperson of the American Bar Association Workers’ Compensation Section and the Massachusetts Bar Association’s Section on Workers’ Compensation Law. He frequently lectures on workers’ compensation issues around the nation, and in 2007 became one of the first attorneys in the country to be inducted as a Fellow into the College of Workers’ Compensation Lawyers of the American Bar Association. Special thanks to our sponsors, Casepacer and PInow.

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