Managing Member Alan G. Brackett and Associate Ava Wolf are co-authors of an “Attorney Analysis” workers’ compensation column for Reuters Legal News. Their most recent article, “Second Injury Funds: the benefit in hiring injured workers,” was published on March 16, 2023. Following is an excerpt from the article, which you can continue reading on Reuters Legal News. You can also download a PDF of the entire article at the link below.
Second Injury Funds: the benefit in hiring injured workers
Through the establishment of Second Injury Funds, employers are encouraged to re-hire injured workers. In the United States, at least 30 states still have active Second Injury Funds, which benefit both the employee and employer. For the employee, Second Injury Funds serve as additional anti-discriminatory support for those with disabilities seeking employment. For the employer, Second Injury Funds can serve as a limitation in liability if the employee is subsequently injured.
Under the Americans with Disabilities Act, it is illegal to ask a candidate whether they suffer from a pre-existing injury or condition, as it may require a candidate to disclose a disability. After a conditional offer has been made, an employer can then request the employee undergo a pre-employment physical or answer a medical questionnaire. But, for what? For the purpose of a Second Injury Fund.
Second Injury Funds date back to the early 1900s and expanded after World War II. They were specifically created to incentivize the re-hiring of injured workers. These funds are typically designed so that when a worker has a pre-existing permanent partial disability and subsequently sustains a more disabling second injury, the statutory fund will assume some portion of the liability for both wage and medical benefits.
Second Injury Funds are funded by insurance companies that have paid workers’ compensation benefits. In Louisiana, the Second Injury Fund Board determines the amount of the assessment, which is a percentage of the total benefits paid, for the preceding calendar year.
Unfortunately, Second Injury Funds are…