Business Leaders Sure Love North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Reforms…But Do the Rest of Us?

November 2, 2011, by Michael A. DeMayo

An October 20 AP article reports that entrepreneurs, corporations, and other free enterprise groups are considerably satisfied with the 2011 North Carolina workers’ compensation reforms.

What about the rest of us?

Before we delve into the point/counterpoint, let’s quickly review the findings of a North Carolina Free Enterprise Foundation Survey. The group found that “66% of [NC] senate members consistently support [pro-business] viewpoints, compared to 42% two years ago. In the house, it grew from 49% to 61%.”

The legislature has had a busy 2011. In addition to changing the North Carolina workers’ compensation rules, lawmakers altered medical liability litigation processes and also changed the rules by which local governments can provide high-speed internet.

That the General Assembly has become more “business friendly” should not surprise anyone; Republicans took control of the body in the 2010 elections, and Republicans, in general, tend to side with free enterprise advocates.

Notwithstanding, obviously, many lawmakers seem pretty excited with the changes and pleased with themselves for passing them. But are these changes really creating fairness in the system, saving money, and fixing the long-term structural problems which have bedeviled the workers’ comp system and other similar institutions?

Part of the problem with assessing the changes is that the North Carolina workers’ compensation reforms did not occur in a vacuum. They occurred amidst a period of tumultuous change, both in the state and on the national stage. Thus, if, in the wake of the reforms, the state witnesses business growth, favorable changes to employee health, etcetera, one cannot conclude that the changes in the law caused or even contributed to the positive effects.

Of course, likewise, if what follows during the next several years is less than ideal, for businesses, employees, and insurance companies, and one should hesitate before pinning blame on the workers’ comp reforms.

The law is, in many ways, a subset of a larger, much more complicated dynamic system. From a strictly scientific perspective, it may be nearly impossible to effectively “suss out” how small reforms to various laws ultimately redound to affect things like the regional business climate or the relative health and well being of workers.

But that’s all a little heady, especially if you are a hurt or injured worker who needs guidance through the system. A North Carolina workers’ compensation law firm can help you understand your rights and responsibilities and advocate for yourself successfully.

More Web Resources:

North Carolina free enterprise foundation

NC general assembly is more business friendly?


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