Injured workers in the Central Valley have shorter time lags between notification and treatment of an injury, fewer claims with permanent disability and lien payments, and lower attorney involvement compared to other regions of the state, according to a report that analyzes workers compensation claims.
The California Workers’ Compensation Institute Regional Score Card, released Monday, analyzed nearly 344,000 claims for injuries between 2005 and 2015 from Kern County to Butte and Glenn counties. The claims resulted in more than $4.4 billion in medical and indemnity payments.
The Valley accounted for 18 percent of California’s work injury claims and 15 percent of the total workers’ compensation benefit payments, the report said.
18 percentof California’s work injury claims came from the Central Valley
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Agriculture injuries represented 17.5 percent of all claims – four times the proportion for the rest of the state – yet more than eight out of 10 injuries in the region involved non-agricultural workers.
Strains were the top injury category in the Valley, and for the state, but the proportion of back strains, sprains or cumulative injury from the repetition of a task was slightly less than other regions. Fractures, foreign objects in the eyes and punctures were more common.
The average medical payment on claims in the first year were relatively high compared to the rest of the state, but payments were lower as the claims developed.
The average claim lasted about 325 days, or 2 1/2 months less than other areas of California. That suggests “that in many claims the workers were treated and returned to work quickly,” the study said.