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Gender bias in workers' compensation claims

Anyone could become injured or develop an illness while on the job, but even people who suffer from the same kind of ailment could receive different amounts when filing for workers' compensation. For instance, women in South Carolina and other states might be given less benefits than men.

While states train their own medical evaluators for workers' compensation cases, most of the people who conduct the medical examinations are men. Typically, the evaluators believe that a female worker should receive less if women are more susceptible to an injury like carpal tunnel. Rationale like this is no longer allowed with health insurance because of the Affordable Care Act, but it still takes place in workers' compensation claims.

A California lawsuit is working to stop gender discrimination in workers' compensation claims, and those behind the suit want gender to not make a difference on what one receives and want medical examiners to undergo training to prevent gender bias. Many women who suffer injures on the job in California are told that they became injured because of their gender, which means they cannot receive full compensation. The women involved in the lawsuit received between 20-80 percent less than men with the same injuries. Estimates from the state suggest that 11,000 women get less benefits annually due to their gender.

While companies must provide insurance so that workers receive benefits if an on-the-job accident takes place, there is no guarantee that one will be given a sum that covers the costs of an injury or illness. When a worker files a workers' compensation claim, he or she is entitled to consult an attorney and cannot legally face punishment for filing a claim or hiring legal counsel. Working with a lawyer could help an injured worker receive a reasonable sum for medical expenses or temporary or permanent benefits.

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Smith & Griffith, LLP
1102 North Main Street
Anderson, SC 29621

Phone: 864-261-1571 (Personal injury)
Phone: 864-261-1912 (Workers' compensation)
Fax: 864-222-2257
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