Background: Anecdotal evidence suggests that there are injured workers who do not file for workers' compensation (WC). Several recent studies support this, and we aim to quantify the extent of under-reporting.
Methods: A Canadian survey asked about work injuries in the previous year, and several questions established eligibility for WC and whether a claim had been filed. The proportion of eligible injuries with a claim was estimated. Logistic regression identified predictors of claim submission.
Results: Of 2,500 respondents, 143 had incurred an eligible injury, of whom 57 (40%, 95% CI 32-48%) had not filed a WC claim. Severity of injury was the strongest predictor of not claiming.
Conclusions: Survey respondents reported a substantial degree of under-claiming of WC benefits, contrasting with public attention on fraudulent over-claiming. Policy makers should ensure that all relevant parties are aware of their obligations to report work injuries. This will create a more accurate picture of work safety.
Copyright 2002 Wiley-Liss, Inc.