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Drop in Workers’ Comp Claims in Sync with Shaky Recovery

A 2009 report on workers’ compensation provides a fascinating meditation on the way unemployment effects the number of injured workers.

According to the National Academy of Social Insurance there has been a 4.4 percent drop in workers covered by workers’ compensation as of 2009.  If the numbers hold up, this downturn will represent the largest drop in coverage in nearly two decades.

Unsurprisingly, the costs to employers for benefit also fell to $73.9 billion in 2009, representing a decline of nearly 7.6 percent.  Both of these trends are yet another feature of a recession and shaky recovery characterized by massive unemployment.

While less injured workers as a result of less employed workers is a small silver lining to the economic suffering experienced by much of the company, there is also a solid positive labor rights indicator in the report.  John F. Burton, Jr., chair of the panel that oversees the report, noted that although the cost to employers dropped significantly, benefits did increase slightly to $58.3 billion, up by nearly 0.4 percent.

These statistics can sometimes be hard to process when the employment environment is so dynamic.  After all, traffic fatalities and injuries have decreased significantly during the recession and recovery…but this is due, in part, to high gas prices and consumers seeking other forms of transportation.  On an environmental note, the high gas prices end up being a boon, but for spurious reasons.

On a similar, although bewildering note, there were 4,551 fatal work injuries occurring in 2009, the lowest since 1992.  While this is certainly a positive outcome, a key goal for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration is for fatalities to drop while employment rises.  This would signify a true improvement in worker safety.

If you are an injured worker, you should first seek medical care.  You should then seek the advice of an experienced Washington Workers Compensation Attorney at Emery Reddy to serve as your advocate as you file your workers’ compensation claim.

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