For years, Americans have heard about the obesity epidemic, and Georgia weighs in as the state with the 19th highest rate of adult obesity at 30.5 percent. The high rate of obesity is, of course, a serious problem for the health of many Atlanta residents. Obesity, however, is also taking a toll on workers’ compensation in more than one way, causing and furthering worker injuries in a variety of fields. If you are seeking workers’ compensation or have any questions regarding your benefits, it is important to speak to a qualified Atlanta workers’ compensation attorney.
Obesity Challenges for Workers’ CompensationHigh obesity rates in the U.S. present unique challenges to the workers’ compensation system. Employees suffering from obesity are not only more likely to become injured while working, but also have greater difficulty recovering completely and returning to work. Typically, obese workers’ compensation claimants miss more days of work than do co-workers of a healthy weight who have similar injuries. One obese worker, for instance, spent over seven months healing from a twisted ankle without reaching maximum medical recovery. Furthermore, research shows that the medical costs for obese workers who are injured are usually higher and the chance of being permanently disabled is increased. Other impacts of obesity on workers’ compensation include:
- More frequently injured workers;
- Higher rates of comorbidities, such as diabetes or hypertension;
- More severe injuries;
- Greater medical and indemnity costs;
- Increased risk of permanent disability; and
- Additional complications in obese patients, ranging from mental health to blood clots.