Out of the total cost of workplace injuries, $250 billion, only $51.7 billion is covered by workers’ compensation.
Workers’ compensation was set up to help care for injured workers. However, a recent study suggests that nearly 80% of costs for workplace injuries are being covered by workers, other insurance companies, and governments, not by the workers’ compensation system.
The Shifting Burden of Workplace Injury
The study, published by researchers at the University of California Davis in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine showed that, out of the total cost of workplace injuries, $250 billion, only $51.7 billion is covered by workers’ compensation. The rest of the cost is shifted elsewhere, including more than $10 billion in medical expenses paid by workers and their families. More than $14 billion in medical expenses are paid by Medicare/Medicaid—your tax dollars.
What You Can Do to Improve the System
Workers, private insurance, and your tax dollars should not be made to bear the cost of workers’ compensation. Even employers suffer when they lose productivity but can’t claim it from their workers’ compensation insurance. The primary problem is that workers fail to make claims for their injuries.
Help improve the system by:
- Filing a claim for your workplace injury or occupational illness
- Encourage coworkers to file their claims
- Stand with coworkers against intimidation that prevents claims
- Help document and report harassment associated with a workers’ compensation claim
At Willens Law Offices, we understand that many people are afraid that filing a workers’ compensation claim may affect your job and promotion prospects, but the truth is that not reporting an injury can be very expensive, too. The cost of your injury may increase, and trying to “work it off” may lead to permanent disability. Even waiting to gauge the seriousness of your injury may prevent your claim.