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Fewer Workplace Injuries Linked With More Workplace Deaths? Study Reveals Surprising Link

Protecting workers is a top priority and it is essential to understand how worker protection laws and strong workers’ compensation programs can reduce the number of injuries and fatalities. Recently, a new study shed some light on this issue.

Conducted by the RAND Corporation, the study revealed that there was a relationship between the number of workplace fatalities reported in a state and the number of workplace injuries reported. However, the relationship revealed the opposite of what one might expect.

Our Durham worker’s compensation lawyers know that many workers are injured or killed each year in North Carolina. Understanding why some states have higher numbers of workplace injuries, while others have higher fatality rates is important in order to try to reduce the frequency of workplace accidents. The RAND study reveals some key information that can provide lawmakers with guidance on how to keep workers safer in their own states.

Study Reveals Surprising Link

Researches used data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and compared reported incidents of workplace fatalities and worker deaths among the different states. The researchers discovered that in states where a high number of workplace injuries were reported, the number of workplace deaths was lower. The inverse was also true: higher fatality numbers were linked with lower injury numbers.

At first glance, this data made little sense. After all, it seems reasonable to assume that if there are more workers getting injured, the number of fatalities would also be greater.

However, a closer look revealed a probable cause for the odd relationship. In states where there are better worker protection laws and more generous benefits for injured workers, workers are more likely to report injuries. They are also less likely to die because the state places more emphasis on their welfare. On the other hand, in states where there are poorer worker protection laws and where workers’ comp benefits are less generous, injuries may not be reported as frequently and workplaces on the whole may be much less safe.

When a worker lives in a state that cares a lot about workers’ rights, he is more likely to take advantage of workers’ compensation programs and more likely to feel confident that reporting an injury is not something he’ll suffer for at work. When that worker reports the injury, it increases the count of workplace injuries in the state. It also gives employers a chance to correct safety problems that led to the incident and it alerts investigators. This all combines to reduce the fatality rate in those states.

On the other hand, if a worker lives in a state that focuses on employer rights and that provides limited protection and limited workers’ comp benefits, then the worker is less likely to report injuries he sustains. This makes the state appear to have a low injury count. However, there are people getting hurt who just aren’t saying anything. Further, employers and regulators aren’t alerted to correct safety violations before a fatal accident occurs – thus leading to more workplace deaths.

This interpretation of the data was supported by the fact that many southern states with weaker worker protection laws had lower injury rates and higher fatality rates. The data thus shows that lawmakers should take steps to ensure workers are protected.  Work-injury benefits should be generous and workers must be made to feel confident that they can report their injuries without fear of retribution.

If you were injured on the job, you may be entitled to compensation under the law. Call the Law Offices of James Scott Farrin at 1-866-900-7078 or contact us online for a free evaluation of your case.

4 Reasons Why You Might Need a Workers’ Compensation Lawyer

So what can a workers’ compensation lawyer actually do for you anyway? We recently released a video to address this very topic:

Why should I hire a lawyer for my workers’ compensation claim?

If you’ve been hurt at work, here are just 4 reasons why you might want to consider hiring a workers’ comp lawyer:

    1. The process is tricky
      Insurance companies are businesses and, just like any other, they want to make (and keep) as much of their money as possible. In our experience, that means that insurance adjusters may ask you questions that, if answered incorrectly, could have a big impact on the outcome of your claim. Not to mention there lots of deadlines and paperwork you must comply with that can also be confusing. An experienced workers’ compensation lawyer would be able to guide you through this process in a way that may strengthen your workers’ compensation claim.
    2. You might receive better medical care
      Did you know that if you’re injured at work in North Carolina, the insurance company has the right to dictate your medical care? This means deciding which doctors you get to see, how often you can see them and what treatments you can receive. An experienced workers’ comp attorney may be able to help you to take back some of that power. They know the processes for negotiating with the insurance company and how to appeal decisions to the North Carolina Industrial Commission.
    3. You might receive more compensation
      If workers’ compensation claims were calculated perfectly every single time, our firm would probably cease to exist. The fact is that oftentimes things like permanent disability or future medical needs can be left out of the equation. A qualified workers’ compensation lawyer may be able to help you fight for more. It’s important to remember that, just because you may be receiving some workers’ compensation benefits now, that doesn’t mean it is everything you are entitled to.
    4. You might have more job security
      Typically, it’s in an insurance company’s best interest to get you into a job and off of workers’ compensation benefits as soon as possible. We’ve seen cases where employees have been forced back to work before they’re physically ready, into a lower-paying job or even into a “made-up” job that is later eliminated. A workers’ compensation lawyer who’s seen these kinds of things before should be able to see these curveballs coming and help you try to avoid them. Far too often injured workers are discriminated against and we believe that’s unfair. A qualified workers’ comp lawyer may be able to help you try to protect your job.
    5. Do I need a workers’ comp lawyer?
      One of the best ways to find out if you have a workers’ comp case, is to contact an experienced workers’ compensation firm. If you’ve been hurt at work in North Carolina, give us a call at 1-866-900-7078  of contact us online for a free and confidential, no-obligation case evaluation.

Our team of NC workers’ compensation lawyers includes three NC Board Certified Specialists in Workers’ Compensation law and several attorneys who’ve previously worked for the “other side” (the insurance companies). Click here to see what our clients have to say about us.