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Study Shows Virginia Employees Who Are Hurt at Work Pay More

Posted on Nov 27, 2012

A new study performed by the Workers’ Compensation Research Institute (WCRI) shows that people in Virginia who have been hurt at work are paying more than the national average to overcome their injuries. The study also determined that the cost for medical care for each workers’ compensation claim is growing faster in Virginia than in other states.

The study, published as Benchmarks for Virginia: CompScope 13th Edition, showed that between 2005 and 2010, medical costs rose about eight percent per year for claims filed from people who missed seven or more days of work as a result of their injury. Between 2008 and 2010 these costs were seen to rise at an even faster rate, leading researchers to believe that this acceleration of costs will continue. Other states analyzed showed little to no increase in costs.

Still, in spite of the rising costs, the overall cost per workers’ compensation claim in Virginia was close to the national average. This includes benefits paid out to compensate for lost wages. This was estimated to be in part because there were fewer employees who missed more than seven days of work, and therefore fewer lost wages were paid out.

Finally, the study also found that Virginia had one of the longest time frames for making the first payments of benefits. This is likely because no law in Virginia requires insurance companies to pay or deny of a claim within a specific time limit.

According to the WCRI director, Ramona Tanabe, the study was done in an effort to help revise workers’ compensation claims to be fairer for all parties involved. Tanabe also hopes that the study opens the discussion for making system improvements to help ease the burden on employees and insurance companies alike after a work injury occurs.

The staff and attorneys at Law Office of Kathleen Grace Walsh likewise hope this study prods lawmakers to reform the Virginia workers’ compensation laws to treat beneficiaries more fairly in the future.

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