How Age Affects Workers’ Compensation Claims
Some employers avoid hiring older workers for various reasons. They may find older people harder to train or maybe they take too much time off work for medical issues. Something else that may be preventing them from hiring a worker over the age of 65 is that they cost more in the event of a workplace accident.
That’s according to a new study from the Workers’ Compensation Research Institute. The study shows how age affects workers’ compensation claims in terms of cost and worker outcomes, and those over the age of 65 generate the highest costs.
But this isn’t because older employers are more likely to be involved in workplace accidents. In fact, this distinction belongs to younger workers, with those between the ages of 15 and 19 having the highest injury rates. The difference is that younger workers are more resilient, bouncing back and recovering more quickly. Older workers do have the highest rates of fatalities, however.
Older workers spend more time recovering from injuries. Workers aged 15 to 19 have a roughly 10 percent chance of missing one week of work due to a workplace injury. The rate for workers 65 and older us tripled, with a 31 percent chance of losing a week of work.
This may be related to the fact that the type of injury differs by age. Younger workers more likely to experience minor injuries, such as getting cut or hit by objects. Older workers, on the other hand, are more likely to experience more serious accidents, such as falls, which can lead to fractures and other major injuries.
Many workplace accidents lead to disability, and that’s another factor causing the discrepancy between the ages. Disability payments tend to increase with age. Permanent partial disability and lump sum payments average at about $10,000 per claim for younger workers. For workers between the ages of 60 to 64, that average increases to nearly $25,000.
The disability period also lasts longer for older workers. The average is nine weeks for the youngest workers. After age 45, that average increases to 24 weeks.
This means that employers may need to make some changes to the work environment so it is age-friendly. Older workers are more likely to deal with arthritis and hypertension. Therefore, older workers may need to move into roles that are less stressful and do not require repetitive movements. If possible, employers should allow some flexibility with work schedules and tasks so older workers can do their jobs safely. It’s inevitable that older workers will need to learn technology to some degree, so having the right training in place is key.
Contact a Chicago Workers’ Compensation Lawyer Today
Illinois’ workers’ compensation program is in place to provide you with compensation for lost wages, medical bills and disability, if applicable. Make sure you take advantage of these benefits if you are injured on the job.
A workplace accident can result in serious injuries. Get help from the Chicago workers’ compensation lawyers at Harvey L. Walner & Associates, LTD. We can help you with the claims process and protect your job. To schedule a free consultation, call 312-800-0000 or fill out the online request form.