Texan Wants Companies to Write Own Injury Laws 

Bill Minick, a mild-mannered Texan lawyer, is rewriting the rules on how companies take care of injured workers. Thanks to plans written by him, many of the largest employers in Texas have already opted out of state workers’ compensation laws and written their own. According to Minick this move is not only cheaper for employers – it’s also better for the workers. But is this really true, or are hardworking, loyal employees being sold up the river without a paddle? 

State workers’ compensation pays out medical benefits and provides wage replacement for employees injured at work. In return for accepting these benefits, the worker relinquishes their rights to sue the company for negligence.

The plans written by Minick’s law firm have been independently analyzed by experts and the investigation found that most of the new injury benefit plans taken up by companies such as McDonalds, Taco Bell, Sears, Walmart and other big employers are extremely restrictive, offer lower benefits, and are not regulated by an independent body.

A Duty of Care

10910847_lThe whole premise of workers’ compensation is that an employer has a duty of care to his employees. If a worker is injured through the course of his job, the law in every single state requires that the employer covers the cost of medical bills and a proportion of lost wages until the worker is able to return to work. And if this never happens because the injury is too severe, then the payments continue for life. This is a huge expense for employers, so it is not surprising that they have been looking at ways to cut the cost of funding workers’ comp.

Employers Opting Out of Workers’ Comp

personal-injury-casesWhen Bill Minick came up with the idea of allowing employers to opt out of state workers’ compensation laws and write their own plans, it must have seemed like manna from heaven to corporate America. Sadly it has been anything but for the people at the other end of the line: the workers. If you want to be well informed at the time please consult http://www.mahanyertl.com/2015/whistleblower-claims-based-cgmp-violations-dead/

Under the new plans written by Minick, treatment ends after two years, the list of things not covered by the plans runs to several pages, and employers have complete control over what treatment an employee receives, who they see, and how often they have to be examined. If a worker refuses to accept what’s on offer, they relinquish their rights completely.

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The Opt-Out Movement Marches On

Following his success in Texas, Minick began targeting companies in Oklahoma, encouraging them to lobby for a change in the law. Eventually a bill was passed allowing employers to opt out of workers’ comp. Minick has since started the push to introduce his bill into Tennessee and has settled on his next target: South Carolina.

Critics of the new plan say it is a regression back to the bad old days when workers had no rights at all. Workers injured under the new plan are in agreement, with many discovering they are no longer covered. Even worse, if an employer opts out of workers’ comp, employees are no longer protected if an employer fires them in retaliation for making a claim. So whilst Minick and his corporate friends are keen to keep pushing for changes in workers’ comp, the workers affected by the changes are struggling to see how things are better for them.