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Workers' compensation trends

According to the National Academy of Social Insurance, workers' compensation benefits fell to 91 cents per $100 of companies' payrolls in 2014 from 97 cents per $100 in 2013. Furthermore, there was a drop in benefits as a percentage of payroll in 46 states between 2010 and 2014. However, as benefits paid out continues to decline, the costs to employers are continuing to increase.

From 2010 to 2014, the cost of benefits for every $100 of payroll increased to $1.35. Costs such as insurance premiums and reimbursement payments were $29.5 billion higher than the amount of benefits paid out. One of the reasons cited for this occurrence is that employers are hiring more workers as the economy grows after the recession. As new employees are hired, employers immediately incur the costs of providing workers' compensation coverage for them.

Benefits paid out generally lag behind these costs especially when it comes to long-term injuries that tend to be the most expensive. Medical benefits now make up the largest share of workers' compensation benefits paid out as they accounted for more than 50 percent of total costs in 2014. This was an increase from 29 percent in 1980 as the cost of health insurance has steadily risen.

Victims of workplace injuries may be entitled to workers' compensation benefits that can include the provision of medical care and treatment as well as partial wage replacement. Although employers are mandated to post information about the filing process, some injured employees still find it advisable to obtain the assistance of an attorney to help ensure that the claim is complete and filed in a timely manner.

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