How many injured workers do not file claims for workers' compensation benefits?

Am J Ind Med. 2002 Dec;42(6):467-73. doi: 10.1002/ajim.10142.


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.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Accidents, Occupational / economics*
  • Accidents, Occupational / statistics & numerical data
  • Adult
  • Canada
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Decision Making
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Workers' Compensation / statistics & numerical data*