Aging “Baby Boomers” and Workers’ Compensation Part 2

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Today’s post comes from guest author Tom Domer from The Domer Law Firm. As a continuation of last week’s post, it dispels some of the realities that were true decades ago when it came to workers’ compensation and “older” workers. And you’ll want to read all the way to the end to see who’s considered an “older” worker in this article!

Last week, we started talking about some of the NCCI’s interesting conclusions about the implications of “Baby Boomers” in the workplace (see Part 1 of this article). In today’s post, we discuss these conclusions in more detail. The frequency of injury has steadily declined since the mid-1990s, with age group differences in frequency largely eliminated.  The decline in frequency has occurred for all age groups.  The differences among age groups in the early 1990s had almost completely disappeared by 2010.

A longstanding worker’s compensation maxim that “younger workers have much higher injury rates” is no longer true.  For example: the injury rate for workers age 55-64 was 16% lower than the frequency for all workers in the mid-1990s but actually 1% higher in 2010, indicating that the differences have clearly narrowed.

Lastly, in terms of severity of claims, older workers certainly cost more, primarily due to higher wages and increased medical costs for older workers.  The severity of medical costs for the 55-64 age group was 25% above average in 1995 but only 17% above average in 2008.  Even those differences have narrowed.  Simply put, the medical severity was more than 50% higher for older workers.

In terms of types of injuries suffered, older workers seemed to experience rotator cuff and knee injuries and lower back nerve pain (lumbosacral neuritis) while younger workers were more likely to have sprains and lower back pain.

In terms of time lost, the average temporary duration was 53 days for the 20-34 age workers and 66 days for the 45-64 age workers (a 25% difference).  Average treatments per claim averaged 44 for the 20-34 age workers and 58 for the 45-64 age workers, while the average temporary benefits paid per day was $42 for the 20-34 age and $53 for the 45-64 age workers.  Average cost per treatment was $117 for the 20-34 age workers and $126 for the 45-64 age workers.

In conclusion, the differences in frequency of injury rates by age have diminished while differences in severity of cost by age have continued.  Older workers generally tend to have higher loss costs per worker, but the term “older” seems to start with age 35, since all groups of workers age 35 to 64 have similar costs per worker.  Overall, an aging workforce may have less negative impact on loss costs than originally thought.



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The offices of Rehm, Bennett, Moore & Rehm, which also sponsors the Trucker Lawyers website, are located in Lincoln and Omaha, Nebraska. Five attorneys represent plaintiffs in workers’ compensation, personal injury, employment and Social Security disability claims. The firm’s lawyers have combined experience of more than 95 years of practice representing injured workers and truck drivers in Nebraska, Iowa and other states with Nebraska and Iowa jurisdiction. The lawyers regularly represent hurt truck drivers and often sue Crete Carrier Corporation, K&B Trucking, Werner Enterprises, UPS, and FedEx. Lawyers in the firm hold licenses in Nebraska and Iowa and are active in groups such as the College of Workers’ Compensation Lawyers, Workers' Injury Law & Advocacy Group (WILG), American Association for Justice (AAJ), the Nebraska Association of Trial Attorneys (NATA), and the American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA). We have the knowledge, experience and toughness to win rightful compensation for people who have been injured or mistreated.

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