4 Trends Affecting Workers Compensation in 2020 and Beyond
The California Workers Compensation system seems to be an ever-evolving organism. With that in mind, one wonders what it might look like by the year 2030. Despite paradigm shifts and potentially devastating external pressures, can the present system not only survive, but thrive? The attorneys at Cantrell Green, an Orange County workers comp firm, keep current on anything that affect workers compensation. This article is designed to give you some information on general trends that affect workers compensation, and how they might impact your claim.
There are a number of significant societal changes that could affect the current workers compensation system:
Widespread labor shortages
New and tighter immigration policies
The emergence of telemedicine
An aging workforce
Workers Compensation and the Labor Shortage
Due to the sheer number of baby boomers in the workplace, it is anticipated that labor shortages may occur as they begin to retire. Furthermore, as workers age, there is the potential for a greater number of claims, and an increase in workers compensation costs. Hiring inexperienced workers tends to lead to a larger number of injuries and higher workers compensation premiums for employers.
A projected shortage of medical staff could also result in delays in medical care, which translates into increased time off work for injured employees. And as experienced workers compensation staff workers retire, less experienced staff will take their place, which could also result in less efficiency and greater wait periods.
Restrictive immigration policies also mean that many positions previously typically filled by immigrants, such as farm workers, landscape workers, food service support staff such as dishwashers, and many more may go unfilled.
Workers Compensation and the Aging Workforce
According to the Census Bureau, there has been a 35 percent increase in the number of Americans 65 and older who continue to work or are looking for jobs. Experts suggest that this trend is at least in part due to longer and healthier life spans and the fact that people simply want to work longer. Additionally, financial concerns are a factor, what with the possibility that retirement savings may evaporate due to stock market losses and fears that Social Security and other benefits won’t cover financial needs.
But an aging or “elderly” workforce also means that employees are more likely to be injured on the job – as well as take longer to recovery when they are hurt while working. This could place a tremendous burden on the workers compensation system.
Workers Compensation and Climate Change
Over the past ten years, more than 350 workers died as a result of heat-related injuries. Additionally, tens of thousands of workers were impacted by the heat to the extent that they missed one or more days of work.
The jobs with the highest risk for heat-related illnesses or deaths are those in construction, landscaping, agriculture, and even delivery persons, such as postal workers, UPS and FedEx workers.
In 2015, California, Texas and Georgia reported the highest number of workers with non-fatal illnesses due to heat – a combined total of more than 800 employees. As climate change continues to be an issue, this trend will only increase.
Workers Compensation and Telemedicine
One ray of sunshine in the outlook for workers compensation is the advent of telemedicine, where medical providers can consult with, diagnose and prescribe treatment for injured workers rapidly and at much less cost through online e-appointments.
The advent of telemedicine enables medical providers to collaborate to a much greater extent. This collaboration enables the providers to share information and notes, saving substantial amounts of time in waiting for reports that are necessary to create a treatment plan. It also will likely decrease the cost of treatment substantially.
Telemedicine is also beneficial for those suffering from work related injuries because it not only makes getting treatment faster, but it opens the door to after-hours treatment options, and provides ongoing supervision. These benefits are important because they work to eliminate or reduce treatment delays, thus preventing what appears to be a simple injury from turning into something more serious.
Orange County Workers Compensation Attorneys
The 2020s are expected to bring many changes to the U.S. workforce. The growth in population appears to be slowing down; at the same time, the population is growing older; and there is a greater diversity in terms of ethnicity – with fewer immigrant workers, hotter temperatures and greater integration of technology.
In general, California’s stance toward the workers compensation system has been to react and reform. As these changes begin to affect the workers compensation arena in Orange County, Southern California and beyond, our experienced workers compensation attorneys will continue to monitor, react and report on changes that affect our clients.
If you were injured or made ill in the workplace, we recommend that you speak with an experienced Orange County workers compensation attorney immediately. Even if you are currently receiving workers comp benefits, it is a good idea to get some legal advice to protect your rights going into the future.
Our Orange County workers compensation attorneys can help you identify minor issues before they become major problems – and make sure that you not only receive your benefits now, but for years to come.