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Claimants who fear being fired (cont'd)

"Better information about the predictors of poorer worker outcomes may allow payors and doctors to better target health care and return-to-work interventions to those most at risk," said Dr. Richard Victor, WCRI's executive director. 

In addition to the factors discussed above, WCRI notes other predictors of outcomes are injury type and severity, the injured worker's age, educational attainment, and even proficiency in English. Its recent study also provides a profile of North Carolina workers and workplace injuries. For instance:

  • Twenty three percent of injured workers were age 55 or older
  • Nearly 50% had no education beyond high school. Thirty five percent had high school diplomas and 17% did not graduate from high school
  • Twenty five percent of injured workers reported smoking for 20 or more years
  • Multiple comorbidities were reported by 24% of workers. Thirty percent reported being treated for hypertension
  • Attorneys represented workers in 30% of the cases
  • Most workers reported high levels of job satisfaction. Eighty two percent reported being completely or mostly satisfied. Only 3% reported being "not at all" satisfied
  • Nearly 50% reported they were somewhat or very concerned they would be fired or laid off after their injury.

WCRI cautions it is possible some workers expressed fears about being fired because they had poor outcomes. That is, the fears were in retrospect and colored the workers' view of most events in the course of the claim.

Based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, WCRI provides objective information about public policy issues involving workers' compensation systems.   To purchase its recent report on North Carolina, visit http://www.wcrinet.org/recent_pub.html.