As escalating costs have stabilized or fallen in workers’ compensation, policymakers are increasingly shifting their emphasis to how well the system is meeting the needs of injured workers. Although many studies have assessed workers’ compensation systems by statistical analyses of numbers and types of injuries, benefits paid, and system costs to employers, few studies to date have examined the financial and personal changes workers themselves attribute to the work injury. This survey begins to do that.
Nearly 1500 workers with back injuries responded to this survey that addressed preinjury employment history, postinjury health status, financial and non-financial consequences, return-to-work experience, and the amount of attorney involvement following the injury. The result is a study with a very rich set of information about workers’ experiences with the workers’ compensation system.
Although the study is not designed to identify causal relationships, it does highlight areas that could help policymakers and others better understand how the system is addressing the needs of injured workers. This study is an important first step in understanding how workers, employers, jobs, injuries, and claim characteristics interact to produce different outcomes.
A few of the findings follow:
The Workers’ Story: Results of a Survey of Workers Injured in Wisconsin. Dr. Monica Galizzi, Dr. Leslie I. Boden, Te-Chun Liu. December 1998. WC-98-5.
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