Data Shows That Many Injured Workers Never Substantially Return to Work

Photo of construction worker accident while working at a construction siteIf you are injured on the job, are you likely to return to work in any substantial capacity?

A study of 15 states found that between 10 and 18 percent of injured workers never manage a substantial return to work. The multiyear study, “Comparing Outcomes for Injured Workers, 2016 Interviews,” was conducted by the Workers Compensation Research Institute (WCRI). The institute recently released data for six states – Indiana, Massachusetts, North Carolina, Virginia and Wisconsin – which, combined with data from nine other states including Georgia, showed that between one in ten and one in five workers face bad prospects of returning to meaningful work.

Using interviews conducted from 2013 to 2016, researchers looked at injured worker outcomes and analyzed them based on physical health and functioning, return to work, earnings recovery, access to medical care and satisfaction with medical care. The goal of the study is to inform policymakers and stakeholders of the ways different state workers’ comp systems affect injured workers in those states, and how to make these systems work more for injured workers.

Another study by the WCRI looked at how effective workers’ comp is at replacing the pay received by workers 10 years after they are injured, and that study had equally troubling results. It found that, on average, an injured worker is only making 88 percent of their former earnings 10 years later.

Because of the potential for lost wages and a permanent decrease in your ability to work, it is wise to discuss any work injury case with a qualified personal injury attorney.



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