Thursday, October 20, 2011

Workers' Compensation

I realize the ABA is viewed as liberal in general and plaintiff-oriented in civil matters, so caveat emptor.  I am a member and I read their magazine, as well as the criminal justice section magazine, which, on another topic of interest in my world, has an article in the most recent issue on Eliminating Excessive Public Defender Workloads
The ABA Journal recently ran a pretty scathing article on the Texas Workers' Compensation System; here is a thematic sentence: 
[S]everal decades of tweaking—through legislation, policy and business practices mostly meant to target scams by physicians and medical services providers—have gone beyond simple reform. Critics of the system say it has become so hostile, so skewed toward delay and denial that lawyers, physicians and even legitimate claimants have been driven away.
This is a topic that I have been around, working in the legislature back in the late 1980s/early 1990s, and I know several of the people who were intimately involved in the machinations back then, but it has never been an area of actual understanding on my part.  (So I confess my ignorance.) But I found the article troubling and compelling, and if I were a legislator I might be stirred to attempted action.  But in my actual role, what interests me most is the removal of matters of dispute from the system that is contemplated by our three-branch system of government, the courts. Here is a chart from OCA data that succinctly tells that story.

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