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Work injury too often the responsibility of the worker

According to many studies, over 100 million Americans suffer from chronic pain issues, issues that cost taxpayers in the realm of $635 billion between lost productivity in the workplace and medical treatment. The lost productivity can be placed squarely at the feet of a system that places the responsibility of work injury not on the employer, but on the employee to mitigate. While worker's compensation is ideally supposed to deal with these issues both here in Colorado and elsewhere, quite often the function gets bogged down in the process.

The current worker's compensation system as it stands today is mired in bureaucracy and so-called "red tape" that slows down processing of claims. The systems in place are often overburdened by the abundance of claims in the pipeline, resulting in poor treatment and long wait times. In some cases, relatively simple conditions requiring a minimum of treatment are exacerbated by months of waiting for paperwork to be processed.

Some experts fear this constant hardship is leading injured workers to adopt a stance of "learned helplessness" in which they feel that no matter what they do, they will not receive the help they require. This in turn can cause employees to ignore or otherwise sideline potentially serious medical issues, which leads to lost productivity. The argument can be made that the system as it stands is now part of the problem, rather than working to create a solution.

A work injury can have a profound effect on an individual's ability to provide for themselves and their family, as many Colorado residents are keenly aware. It can sometimes be helpful to seek out additional support in determining your rights and responsibilities under state law. If you are injured at work, educating yourself is the first step to getting the help you need to get back on your feet.

Source: Huffington Post, Injured and Hurting: Time to Fix How We Treat Pain on the Job, Peter Abaci, M.D., Sept. 4, 2013

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