After steadily rising for three straight years, the cost per workers’ compensation claim in Massachusetts has shown a decrease. In fact, Massachusetts had the largest decrease among 16 states reviewed in a study conducted by the Workers Compensation Research Institute.
According to the study, the cost per claim in Massachusetts dropped 6 percent 2010. Experts believe that the decrease is due, in part, to the fact that the state is recovering from the recession. During the recession period of 2007-2009, workers’ compensation costs per claim increased an average of 10 percent each year. One statistic that points to the relationship between the cost per claim of workers’ compensation claims and the recession is that indemnity benefits decreased 11 percent from 2009 to 2010. Indemnity benefits are the benefits that are paid to a worker as wage replacement.
Massachusetts Workers’ Compensation and the Economy
The results of the study are not surprising. Significant swings in the nation‘s economy tend to impact every sector of the workplace, including workers’ compensation. When the economy is in recession, there are fewer employment opportunities for workers who are recovering from a workplace injury. As the economy improves, injured workers may have more opportunities to return to work or find other jobs.
Sometimes injured workers are able to return to work, though perhaps not in their pre-injury jobs. For example, a worker may be capable of answering telephones at a desk but not working on the floor of a factory. When that happens, the employer is typically required to find the worker suitable work if possible. In the middle of a recession it is harder for employers to accommodate employees who are in this position. As a result, indemnity benefits are likely to continue longer in a recession than when the economy is robust and jobs are plentiful.
The decrease in costs per workers’ compensation claim is good news for employers, insurance providers and workers. When insurance costs are down, everyone benefits. Employers save money, and those savings can then be passed on to workers. Hopefully, the decline in costs is a sign that the economy is continuing to recover from the recession.
If you have suffered a work-related injury or illness in Massachusetts, or have lost a family member as a result of a workplace accident, the Massachusetts workplace injury lawyers at Kantrovitz & Associates, P.C., are available to review your claim and help you decide your next move. If you would like to know what legal options you have for a work-related injury, we can be reached by calling 800-367-0871 or by using our online contact form.