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Protecting all injured workers

Workers' compensation benefits are crucial for a construction worker injured on the job. In most situations, construction workers that are injured are unable to return to work for a significant length of time, if ever. Without workers' compensation benefits, not only is it possible that the injured victim would be unable to adequately seek the necessary medical treatment, but because they are unable to continue returning to work, they are left without income. Workers' compensation benefits will cover the medical expenses that a construction worker faces after an injury on the job, as well as work to cover lost wages.

An alarming study conducted by researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago School of Public Health and published in an issue of the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine found that there are significant differences in the amount of workers' compensation awarded to white non-Hispanic workers and minority workers in the same field in that state. The study evaluated construction workers and found white claimants were awarded $6,000 more on average than injured minority claimants in the state.

According to the lead author of the study, it is possible that a variance exists between ethnic groups regarding the level of knowledge surrounding the legal system and their rights. However, he also offered that it is possibly indicative of a "systemic bias."

Whatever the reason for the findings of this alarming study, it is important that every single injured worker, regardless of ethnic background, receives the benefits that they need. In New York City and elsewhere, when a construction worker is injured on the job they are able to seek a legal advocate to aid in ensuring their necessary benefits. In some instances, injured workers can stand to receive additional compensation if there is evidence of a third party's negligence.

Source: Insurance Journal, "Study: White Construction Workers in Illinois Get Higher Work Comp Settlements," Oct. 15, 2012

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