It seems we were not the only ones to notice and comment on the recent NPR/ProPublica series on our nation’s workers’ comp system. Entitled “The Demolition of Workers’ Comp,” the NPR/ProPublica piece is an investigation into workers’ comp in the United States. It presents a scathing depiction of an inconsistent and difficult-to-navigate system once designed to help injured and disabled workers, yet no longer functioning in the interests of those it was intended to protect.
The Insurance Information Institute (I.I.I.) responded to the article with a 3-page letter in which I.I.I. President & Economist Robert Hartwig strives to set the record straight “using facts – verifiable, incontrovertible facts – rather than the unsubstantiated assertions, incorrect interpretations and subsequent erroneous conclusions upon which the basic premise of [the NPR] series is built.” (Source: I.I.I. letter)
In turn, then, NPR and ProPublica issued a point-by-point response to Hartwig’s letter.
The bottom line is this: I.I.I. claims that NPR/ProPublica used anecdotal evidence by presenting sensationally horrific stories to condemn the workers’ comp system as a whole. NPR/ProPublica counters with evidence that its reporting was sound and based on data from multiple trusted sources.
Herndon, Virginia workplace injury lawyer Doug Landau believes the truth lies in the pudding. Workers’ comp is not easy to navigate. It is not easy for injured workers to collect the benefits to which they are entitled. It is slow and inconsistent and seems to be impacted by the efforts of lobbyists.
Has the system been demolished, as implied in the original article’s title?
That may be a bit of hyperbole as I.I.I.’s Hartwig suggests. However, Landau has witnessed first hand a cumbersome, backlogged, inconsistent system.