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Lower workers' compensation costs -- good for injured workers?

In this struggling economy, employers are looking to cut costs wherever they can. But most New Yorkers would agree that these cost-cutting measures should not be at the expense of their employees' health and safety. Even in tough times, employers have an obligation to keep their employees safe and to do everything they can to prevent workplace accidents.

Employers may be tempted to cut back on safety measures to save money. But if employers do this and an accident occurs, the employer will be responsible for paying workers' compensation. Under workers' compensation, an injured worker is entitled to compensation for expenses related to an injury that occurred at work. The coverage can include lost wages and medical bills.

New data suggests that employers are saving money by cutting workers' compensation coverage. According to the results released by the National Academy of Social Insurance, workers' compensation costs decreased for employers in 2010. In fact, employers across the United States -- in 43 jurisdictions -- saw a decrease in the cost of workers' compensation of around 2.7 percent.

While employers saw a decrease in the cost of workers' compensation, injured workers also saw a decrease in the amount of covered benefits. On average, medical benefits fell 2.1 percent for workers. In 26 jurisdictions, the entire amount of workers compensation paid went down. In fact, spending on workers compensation benefits across the country fell to $57.5 billion.

Even when employers need to save money, workers should not be the ones who suffer -- especially not injured workers. Employers should consider all of the ways to trim their budgets and allow injured workers to collect the compensation they deserve.

Source: Insurance Networking News, "Workers' Comp Costs Continue to Decline," Justin Stephani, Aug. 13, 2012

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