Yesterday the editors at the Tribune ran this editorial which is a the sky is falling look at what is wrong with the Illinois Workers' Compensation system. To be fair, there are some things wrong with our system, namely that reforms put in to place in 2005 to curtail some costs have not worked.
Yet, as the Tribune seems to always be willing to do, they have stretched the truth or lied to make their case for reform. Two biggies from this recent editorial:
1. Give the state more power to investigate fraud and deny claims by workers who are injured because they're drunk on the job. Yes, believe it, that's an issue. This implies that employees are coming to work all shit faced and getting hurt as a result and beyond that getting paid for it. There ought to be a law to stop this from happening because "believe it, that's an issue." Except this law already exists and if you are found to be drunk or high when you got hurt, you will lose your claim. I challenge the Tribune to show me even one case where this didn't happen. I don't "believe it."
2. The governor's proposed reforms fail to tackle the biggest problems in the Illinois workers comp system. They don't require workers to prove they were injured on the job. Uhm, yes they do. The Tribsters make it sound like if you say you were hurt on the job you win. That's not how it works. In almost every case you need a doctor to state that your job was the cause of your condition and if you have other issues in your life such as obesity, an old similar injury, etc. you can bet that your claim will be denied which is of course a right the insurance company can and should have.
The Tribune editorial basically regurgitates talking points from the Illinois Chamber of Commerce. Some of those talking points no doubt have validity; others just sound shocking, truth be damned.
It's pretty lazy of the Trib to write an editorial based on these points without doing any real investigation or fact finding of their own. If they ever care to do this I'd suggest they start by looking in to the following: Why is it that case filings are down by around 40% but costs to employers are sky-rocketing? That really doesn't make sense, does it? If insurance companies aren't paying as much wouldn't you think that those savings should be passed on?
Now there are certainly valid points that the Tribune could have made for reform that wouldn't have read as nice. Now imagine if the truth of their editorial would be the reason that reform would succeed or fail. If they were subject to a cross examination on trial they would get ripped apart.
So if we can learn anything from their laziness or embelling it's that if you are ever in an actual legal case and potentially subject to cross examination, you are really going to hurt your case by not being honest. A case that seems too good to be true usually is and trained attorneys and others can usually sniff that out.
The Tribune can do this on an editorial to pursue their goals and face no consequences. If you do that in whatever type of case you have, you will likely end up losing.
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