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Workers' compensation benefits decline to historic low

According to a study, workers' compensation benefits have fallen to the lowest level since 1980 around the country. This may be due to changes in the laws in Oklahoma to limit access to workers' compensation when workers are injured. It might also be attributed to fewer people being injured at work or their returning to work much faster.

Workers' compensation benefits fell to $0.91 cents for every $100 in payroll between 2010 and 2014. During that same time period, part of the cause is that as the economy emerges from the recession, more people have returned to work and have been injure on the job.

Medical cost payments accounted for half of the workers' compensation benefits that were paid. In 1980, they accounted for 29 percent. The rising cost of health care explains the increase. In 2014, $62.4 billion in workers' compensation benefits were paid. Oklahoma was one of three states that had the biggest declines of the benefits it paid out because of changes to the law between 2010 and 2014.

Workplace injuries may leave workers with permanent disabilities, rendering them unable to work. When that happens, they may apply for workers' compensation benefits in order to have their medical costs paid and to receive cash benefits to replace a portion of their former incomes. If a company or its insurance carrier disputes a claim for benefits, an injured worker might want to get help from a workers' compensation attorney. Counsel can ensure that the claim is complete and filed on a timely basis.

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