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Study: Many injured North Carolina workers can’t return to work

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The Workers Compensation Research Institute (WCRI) is not an organization that typically makes news. The low-profile group is nonpartisan and nonprofit; it focuses on research into workers’ comp-related issues.

The WCRI has peered closely at North Carolina’s workers’ compensation system, among its many studies. Research shows that in our state, between 10 percent and 18 percent of injured workers are never able to enjoy a substantial return to work after their injuries.

The WCRI study titled “Comparing Outcomes for Injured Workers, 2016 Interviews” also looked at 14 other states. The data from six of them — North Carolina, Michigan, Indiana, Massachusetts, Virginia and Wisconsin — was recently released.

The data from those six was compiled last year in interviews about workers’ recovery of their physical health and function, their return to work, earnings recovery, their access to medical care and their satisfaction with the care they received.

“The picture the research paints is troubling,” says a writer for Benefits Pro, a news publication devoted to benefits brokers, benefits managers and retirement advisors.

In many places, there are a substantial percentage of injured workers who cannot manage to return to work. In Virginia, for instance, 17 percent of workers reported no substantial return within a year of their injury. And in Wisconsin, 13 percent reported that they had had no substantial return to their jobs within a year of their injury.

Clearly, there is room for improvement in workers’ comp systems, care and compensation.

You can speak to a Charlotte attorney experienced in workers’ comp appeals about your case.