A past claim is the most predictive factor in determining the likelihood of a future claim

A study published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine in December 2017 “Reoccurring Injury, Chronic Health Conditions, and Behavior Health: Gender Differences in the Causes of Workers’ Compensation Claims” offered insights into the likelihood of repeat workers’ comp claims:

  • Regardless of gender, a higher proportion of workers with past claims also experienced a future claim, compared with those workers who had no prior claim. For both men and women, having a past claim was the most predictive factor in determining the likelihood of a future claim.
  • There are other factors associated with the filing of subsequent claims that are more closely linked to the worker’s gender. Among working women, the combination of a past claim and certain behavioral risk factors (e.g., depression, poor sleep habits, and headache) increases the likelihood of a future claim, yet not so in men. Researchers caution, however, that some of the gender difference may arise because men are less prone to admit they suffer from those same behavioral risk factors.

Employer takeaway: Regardless of the severity of the injury, addressing the exposures that are causally connected to that injury should be the first priority. Hazards, left unchecked, will only lead to additional injuries. In addition, future claims are associated with the individual worker’s overall health condition and require an integrated approach that connects health, well-being, and safety.

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