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OAKLAND, Calif.—Back injuries have contributed to more than one-quarter of workers compensation losses in California during the past decade, according to a report released Tuesday by the California Workers' Compensation Institute.
Back injuries reportedly comprised 26.3% of workers comp payments in California between 2001 and 2011—the highest percentage of any injury type. CWCI said that 44% of back-related claims resulted in lost work time, which contributed to higher costs for such injuries.
CWCI found that back strains, sprains and other back injuries that don't require surgery accounted for 16.5% of California workers comp claims between 2001 and 2011—or one out of every six claims. The most common injury during that period was minor skin wounds, which represented 17% of claims.
CWCI noted that claimants with back injuries tended to be slightly older on average than all injured workers. Most back claimants worked in such industries as manufacturing, construction, agriculture and health care.
Workers compensation medical expenses in California have risen steadily since the adoption of reforms from 2002 to 2004, according to new research.