White construction workers in Illinois get higher workers' comp settlements, study finds

October 12, 2012

White non-Hispanic construction workers are awarded higher workers' compensation settlements in Illinois than Hispanic or black construction workers with similar injuries and disabilities, according to researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago School of Public Health.

The disparity amounted to approximately $6,000 more for white non-Hispanic claimants compared to minority workers in the same industry, says Lee Friedman, assistant professor of environmental and occupational health sciences at UIC and lead author of the study, which was published in the October issue of the .

The researchers assessed among construction workers injured on the job by linking medical records data from the Illinois Department of Public Health and workers' compensation data from the Illinois Workers' Compensation Commission between 2000 and 2005.

The researchers evaluated a total of 1,039 cases (68 black, 168 Hispanic, 724 white and 79 other ethnicities.)

The settlements for white workers were substantially higher, despite controlling for average weekly wage, type of injury, , weeks of temporary disability, percent permanent partial disability, and whether or not the worker used an attorney—all factors that are known to contribute to the final decision for in the claims process.

White non-Hispanic construction workers were consistently awarded higher monetary settlements despite the fact that the mean percent permanent partial disability was equivalent to or lower than that in black and Hispanic construction workers, according to the study's authors. This was true for amputations, torso injuries, open wounds of the upper extremity and .

The most common types of injuries for all workers were fractures, internal injuries, and open wounds.

The study does not explain why white non-Hispanic construction workers would receive higher compensation, Friedman said.

"One explanation is that there is some systemic bias or prejudices occurring within the system," he said. "Or, it could be that the level of information and knowledge about how the system works—and what can actually be litigated, disputed, or requested for compensation—might vary by ethnic group."

Explore further: Most occupational injury and illness costs are paid by the government and private payers

Related Stories

Most occupational injury and illness costs are paid by the government and private payers

May 25, 2012
UC Davis researchers have found that workers' compensation insurance is not used nearly as much as it should be to cover the nation's multi-billion dollar price tag for workplace illnesses and injuries. Instead, almost 80 ...

New study examines injuries to US workers with disabilities

August 6, 2012
A new study conducted by researchers at the Center for Injury Research and Policy of The Research Institute at Nationwide Children's Hospital and The Ohio State University compared medically attended noncccupational and occupational ...

Pain persists: Financial, domestic woes worsen after settlements for back injuries

August 1, 2011
Financial and domestic problems for workers -- particularly those who are African-American, have lower incomes, or are younger than 35 -- get progressively worse in the years after they have settled claims for painful, on-the-job ...

Recommended for you

Poor sleep could lead to heavier drinking in young adults, study finds

December 8, 2017
A shortened night of sleep may increase young adults' risk of heavier drinking, according to a new Yale study that assessed reciprocal variations in sleep and drinking over time in young adults.

Researchers say nutritional labeling for sodium doesn't work

December 8, 2017
Potato chips, frozen pizza, a fast food hamburger-these foods are popular in the American diet and saturated with sodium. Though eating too much can lead to high blood pressure and heart disease, 90 percent of Americans eat ...

Observation care may save more than thought

December 8, 2017
In the world of health care spending policy, it usually works that as Medicare goes so goes private insurance on matters of managing the cost and quality of care.

Screen time before bed linked with less sleep, higher BMIs in kids

December 7, 2017
It may be tempting to let your kids stay up late playing games on their smartphones, but using digital devices before bed may contribute to sleep and nutrition problems in children, according to Penn State College of Medicine ...

Mindful yoga can reduce risky behaviors in troubled youth, says research

December 7, 2017
For some young people, dealing with life stressors like exposure to violence and family disruption often means turning to negative, risky behaviors—yet little is known about what can intervene to stop this cycle.

Teen girls 'bombarded and confused' by sexting requests: study

December 7, 2017
Adolescent women feel intense pressure to send sexual images to men, but they lack the tools to cope with their concerns and the potential consequences, according to new Northwestern University research published Wednesday, ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.