North Carolina Workers’ Compensation System: Not Perfect, But Better Than the Middle Ages

March 30, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

Let’s be frank: The North Carolina workers’ compensation system has a lot of problems, despite legislators’ attempts last year to tweak the laws, make them more equitable for businesses and employees, and streamline some aspects of the bureaucracy.

At the end of the day, legitimately hurt would-be beneficiaries still get mistreated by insurance companies, harassed by employers, and forced to jump through hoops to get money that, by all rights, should be theirs without any question. Likewise, unscrupulous people still take advantage of the system by committing North Carolina workers’ compensation fraud.

When you look at any of the interested parties involved – employees, employers, insurance companies, rating agencies, the state, etc – you can probably find ways for us all to improve how we approach the problem of workers’ comp.

On the other hand, we’ve come a pretty long way in terms of worker’s rights, especially when you look at the past several centuries of human history.

Back in Medieval Europe, for instance, serfs labored under ghastly condition to scrape out a living. You can be sure that a serf who got whatever the equivalent of “carpal tunnel syndrome” was — after spending too much time threshing wheat (or whatever) — did not have a grievance system that was anything close to the North Carolina legal system.

Does our progress mean that we can or should excuse the inefficiencies in our current system? Absolutely not. But it’s at least useful to start looking at our problems in historical context. Not only because it will make us feel better – at least we are not serfs, and we have some control and power over our legal destinies – but also because it can make us hopeful for the future. Who knows? In 30 or 50 or 100 years, we may look back on the current way workers’ comp works in horror. Our descendants will wonder: how could we have let so many inequalities and inefficiencies linger for so long?

If someone you care about needs help with a tricky insurance company situation or an unpleasant employer, connect immediately with a North Carolina workers’ compensation law firm.

More Web Resources:

How serfs were treated in the middle ages

The art of getting better over time