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New study looks at real cost of workplace injuries

A new study reveals some of the real costs to workers who suffer on-the-job back injuries in New York City and across the nation. Their financial and domestic problems "get progressively worse after they have settled claims for painful" workplace injuries.

This research is in stark contrast to the popular belief that somehow people's problems are solved when they're compensated for injuries. The reality is that the injuries cause problems far beyond the physical limitations they impose upon people, and reach deep into their family and financial lives.

The study finds three groups of people are hardest hit by domestic and financial problems in the years following an injury: people at lower income levels, the young, and African Americans.

The lead author of the research conducted by the Saint Louis University School of Medicine states the findings bluntly: "Regardless of the settlement that you receive, if you continue to experience pain, our findings indicate you will often get worse over time -- worse in ways that can lead to the loss of a home, lead to family disruptions, and even lead to divorce."

The researchers looked at a decade of court records; five years before the claim settlements and five years afterwards, looking at the ripple effects of injuries.

Injured workers who were younger than 35 struggled with more financial difficulties than older workers; three times more than those between 35 and 55, and five times as many difficulties as those over the age of 55.

The problem for those workers is that they must endure "lost productivity and lower wage-earning capacity."

To those who think injured workers get a free ride following their injuries and settlements, think again. If anything, they are far too often undercompensated for serious injuries that can have lifelong negative consequences.

That's why it's so important to fight as hard as possible for maximum compensation and medical care in the days following an injury.

Source: healthcanal.com: "Woes Worsen after Settlements for Back Injuries": Aug. 8, 2011

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