Current Perspectives in Clinical Treatment & Management in Worker's Compensation Cases

Getting Justice: The Unintended Consequences of the Dispute Resolution System

Author(s): Robert M. Aurbach

Pp: 120-144 (25)

DOI: 10.2174/978160805251611101010120

* (Excluding Mailing and Handling)


The adversarial process of dispute resolution in workers’ compensation claims that occurs in most American jurisdictions creates significant costs and delays for all parties. These proceedings also have significant unintentional consequences with respect to the long-term outcomes of many injured people. Delay in case resolution, and circumstances that require the workers to repeatedly focus on their disability, tend through the mechanism of neuroplasticity, to habituate the association between physical symptoms, emotional responses and the events focusing the workers on their condition. This combination of symptoms, emotions and thoughts helps to explain why the probability of returning to full productive life drops as the length of time away from work increases. The actions of attorneys in the dispute resolution system are particularly pernicious contributors to this phenomenon. There is a discussion of some mechanisms for adjusting dispute resolution to improve outcomes.

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