The Texas Division of Workers’ Compensation recently announced that it is making changes to form letters that it sends to injured employees to make them more readable.
Experts across the agency have revised eight letters and notices so far and will begin using them this month. The letters were chosen, out of an inventory of hundreds of letters that injured workers receive, based on which ones are used most frequently.
The revisions are meant to preserve the legal requirements for the letters while using shorter words and sentences, clear headings and avoiding jargon wherever possible. Melody May, a worker with the division, described three requirements for these revised letters:
- The content must be current
- The format must be compatible with records processing
- The wording must meet legal requirements, which is accomplished by including legal terms in parentheses next to layman’s terms explaining them
An example of the revisions is the Request for Required Medical Examination letter that the injured worker is sent. The former letter was written at a college level, but now reads at a seventh-grade level. With the new headings, injured workers are more able to skim the document to see what actions they need to take, such as getting a doctor’s examination, who the approved doctors are and how to change appointment times if the worker cannot make it to the exam. While it is always important to fully read and understand these documents, making the headings stand out gives the worker the quick-and-dirty rundown of the most important steps to take.