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Feelings of employment security help injured workers heal faster: WCRI

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Workers who are concerned that they may be fired after filing a workers compensation claim have longer disability durations than workers who feel secure in their employment, according to a series of reports released Thursday by the Workers Compensation Research Institute.

Cambridge, Massachusetts-based WCRI interviewed 3,200 injured workers last year in Indiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Wisconsin. Among that group, 47% of workers in North Carolina said they were somewhat or very concerned that they would be fired or laid off when they were injured — the highest percentage of the states studied by WCRI.

Workers who were concerned with losing their jobs after a workplace injury experienced a four-week increase in disability duration compared with workers who did not have such concerns, WCRI said. Lack of trust in an employee's job security after a work accident also correlated with claimant dissatisfaction with workers comp medical care.

“Among workers who were concerned about being fired, 20% reported big problems getting the services that they or their provider wanted,” WCRI said in the North Carolina report. “This rate was double the 9% among workers who were not concerned about being fired.”