Workers' compensation in construction: workers' benefits under alternative dispute resolution systems

Emerson, R.D., Minchin, R.E. and Gruneberg, S. 2013. Workers' compensation in construction: workers' benefits under alternative dispute resolution systems. Journal of Legal Affairs and Dispute Resolution in Engineering and Construction. 5 (3), pp. 113-121.

TitleWorkers' compensation in construction: workers' benefits under alternative dispute resolution systems
AuthorsEmerson, R.D., Minchin, R.E. and Gruneberg, S.
Abstract

Due to slow benefit delivery, fraud and other problems, traditional, state-run Workers' Compensation (WC) programs have come under increasing criticism in recent years in the United States. In a research project funded by the Electrical Contracting Foundation, several alternative WC systems were identified and analyzed. Unfortunately, some of the most efficient WC systems identified by the research are statutorily forbidden in most U.S. states. The performance of several alternative dispute resolution (ADR) programs was analyzed; but only in the state of Maryland was quantified data successfully procured from both the state and a functioning, independent ADR program. Worker benefits under traditional and ADR WC programs are analyzed using administrative data from the State of Maryland. Direct comparisons of benefits between the two programs indicate that the levels of benefits and the probability of receiving benefits are lower under the ADR program. However, the only statistically significant effect attributable to ADR is on the probabilities of receiving temporary total or permanent partial indemnity payments, not on the levels of the two indemnity payments. The involvement of attorneys is found to play a significant role in the receipt of benefits in ADR and traditional programs. A strong claim made by ADR proponents is that an injured worker receives benefits much quicker under that system. While those interviewed indicated the truth of these claims, unfortunately, the data supplied by the state of Maryland did not contain the data necessary to validate or invalidate the claims. Also claimed by ADR advocates is that ADR programs prevent the extremely large payouts, usually for pain and suffering that are reported in the news media on occasion. The data tend to support this claim.

JournalJournal of Legal Affairs and Dispute Resolution in Engineering and Construction
Journal citation5 (3), pp. 113-121
ISSN1943-4162
YearAug 2013
PublisherAmerican Society of Civil Engineers
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)doi:10.1061/(ASCE)LA.1943-4170.0000116
Publication dates
PublishedAug 2013

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