Texan Wants Companies to Write Own Injury Laws

Bill Minick wants to change the way businesses take care of injured workers. These changes let businesses opt out of worker’s compensation laws and create their own plans and rules.Minick believes his plan saves employer’s money. He also believes there are many benefits for workers employed by businesses that opt out. However, there is a lot of opposition to these changes.

Large Businesses Are Opting Out

Many large organizations have already taken Minick’s advice in Texas and Oklahoma. Opting out may be popular with employers but the consequences for workers are not fully understood yet. Some independent research has been carried out by organizations like ProPublica and NPR. They found that workers have less benefits, are more restricted and decisions weigh heavily on the side of employers.

Minick’s Unites Unlikely Allies

Minick’s actions have brought together diverse groups including Insurance companies, lawyers and union members. They are all against his plans.
Before workers comp, an injured party had to sue their employer for damages. These groups feel his measures will bring back this situation. Certain injuries are not covered if the employer opts out and the employer often has the final decision about this.

The Texas Way of Doing Things

Employers in Texas have always had the option to opt out of worker’s comp. However, it wasn’t seen as a wise decision until insurance premiums rose significantly in the 1980’s because it had the potential to lead to numerous law suits.

How Minick Started Out

Minick worked as a lawyer in Dallas in 1989 and was asked to find out how businesses could opt out of worker’s comp. He found the solution in the Employee Retirement Income Security Act from the 1970’s. In 1994 Minick started his own firm called PartnerSource. Minick’s company creates approximately half the opt out plans in Texas and almost 90% in Oklahoma.

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Minick claims bureaucracy, poor doctor selection procedures and lack of injured employee accountability are just some of the problems associated with worker’s comp. However, he believes the opt out process removes these issues.t

Understand What You’re Signing

Employees need to understand what they’re getting into if their employee opts out. Many employers can reduce benefits and add restrictions. In some case’s the employee can even be fired for making a claim.

Opting Out Improves a Workplace

Minick believes workplaces are becoming safer if they opt out. Companies who opt out know they could face legal action. He states that they are more likely to introduce better health and safety procedures to avoid future lawsuits.

Introducing the Plan to Other Areas

Minick plans to introduce his strategy to other areas. However, he is facing fierce opposition. Ultimately, he feels he is doing a good deed for society. Minick believes employers will benefit, workplaces will improve and employees will get better benefits if they do get injured in the workplace. Others still disagree with this.