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New report shows decline in workplace injuries, but rise in severity

When employees are injured on the job, workers’ compensation claims can help them recover the benefits they need. Workers’ compensation benefits not only cover the full medical costs of treating a work-related injury or illness, they also provide partial wage replacement and, in some instances, a lump sum payment.

Historically, there has been a general trend of fewer workplace injuries over the past decade. According to a report released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics on November 26, this trend continued last year in 2012. However, while there have been fewer on-the-job injuries in recent years, the report indicated that the injuries and illnesses that do occur are becoming more severe.

General trend bucked as injury rate increases among newer workers

A common measure used by the government in assessing the severity of an injury or illness is the number of days it keeps an employee from returning to work. For every 10,000 Americans working full-time in 2012, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that 112 of them suffered an occupational illness or injury that resulted in days away from work. That works out to a rate of slightly more than one percent. This was a decrease from 2011, when 117 workers out of every 10,000 had to miss days due to an on-the-job injury or illness.

The slight decrease in the rate of worker injury was offset by discouraging news of the severity of occupational illness and injury. The median time spent away from work for an occupational illness or injury in 2012 – the median being a stronger measure than the average as it is not as skewed by particularly high or low numbers – was nine days. This was up a full day from 2011, when the median worker injury or illness cost eight workdays.

In addition to more severe workplace injuries, last year saw a rise in the number of injuries among less experienced workers. While the general rate of worker injury was down, the rate among private-sector workers on the job for less than three months increased by eight percent from 2011 to 2012. The rate among private-sector employees with a length of service between three and 11 months rose by five percent. Those with a shorter length of service – less than one year – account for nearly one third of all workplace injuries.

Talk to a workers’ compensation attorney about your right to benefits

Although it is a step in the right direction that rates of worker injury and illness are generally going down, data showing that newer workers are getting injured more often and that worker injuries are becoming more severe is troubling.

If you have been injured on the job, or if you are suffering from a work-related illness, you may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. Workers’ comp is a no fault system, meaning that even if your injury was caused by your own mistake, you may still be eligible for benefits.

Sometimes, an employer or an employer’s workers’ compensation insurer may deny or undervalue legitimate workers’ comp claims. This can be an oversight, or a questionable attempt at cutting costs.

The best way to ensure that you get the full workers’ compensation benefits you deserve is to seek the assistance of a workers’ compensation lawyer. Talk to a workers’ comp attorney today for help pursuing your claim.