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CWCI report examines prevalence, expenses of joint pain-related work injuries

Last February, the California Workers' Compensation Institute announced that it would be releasing so-called "Industry Score Cards" over the course of the next few years.

Based on information gathered by the CWCI's Industry Claims Information System database, these Score Cards are expressly designed "to measure various aspects of claims experience for injuries within 10 common diagnostic categories." In other words, the publications examine data on the ten most common work injury categories here in the Golden State.

The CWCI recently released its fifth Score Card, which examined degenerative, infective or metabolic joint disorders. Interestingly, it indicates that while these joint-related work injuries account for only 2.6 percent of all California work comp claims, they nevertheless comprise almost seven percent of total system payments.

What's behind this seemingly disproportionate figure?

According to the CWCI, the general severity of these injuries is a defining factor.

"Joint pain related injuries are relatively severe and costly, as more than 40 percent of them result in permanent disability, compared to 16.7 percent for all injuries, and another 18.7 percent result in temporary disability, vs. about 16 percent of all injuries," reads the Score Card.

The Score Card also revealed the following interesting facts about joint-related work injuries:

  • The claim closure rate for joint-related work injuries at 2 years is 52.2 percent versus 73.3 percent for all other claims
  • The number one cause of joint-related work injuries is slip and fall accidents
  • The lower leg/knee is the joint most frequently diagnosed with pain or discomfort followed by the shoulder, forearm, hand and ankle/foot
  • The medical condition chondromalacia of the patella -- otherwise known as runners' knee -- is diagnosed by medical professionals in only 4.6 percent of joint-related work comp claims but accounts for as much as 8.3 percent of payments
  • The four sectors which account for over half of all joint-related work injuries/claims are construction, mercantile, manufacturing and professional

Stay tuned for important stories and updates from our workers' compensation defense law firm ...

This post was provided for informational purposes only and is not to be construed as legal advice.


Risk and Insurance, "Joint pain-related work injuries increase expense," Jan. 3, 2013

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