Frequency and cost of claims by injury type from a state workers' compensation fund, 1998-2008

OBJECTIVE: To determine which work-related injuries are the most frequent and costly.
DESIGN: Secondary analysis of workers' compensation claims data. SETTING: Data was provided by a large, Maryland workers' compensation insurer from 1998 through 2008. INTERVENTIONS: None MAIN OUTCOMES MEASURES: For 45 injury types, the number of claims and compensation amount were calculated for total compensation as well as for medical and indemnity compensation separately.
RESULTS: Back and knee injuries were the most frequently occurring single injury types, while heart attack and occupational disease were the most expensive in terms of mean compensation. When taking into account both the frequency and cost per of injury (mean cost*number occurrences), back, knee, and shoulder injuries were the most expensive single injury types.
CONCLUSION: Successful prevention and management of back, knee, and shoulder injuries could lead to a substantial reduction in the burden associated with work-related injuries.

Source: Mroz M, Carlini AR, Archer KR, Wegener ST, Hoolachan JI, Stiers W, Shore RA, Castillo RC. Arch. Phys. Med. Rehabil. 2014.

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