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Workers’ Compensation Statistics [Updated 2022]

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Workers’ compensation is a familiar topic on every employee’s mind. Even if you have never been the victim of a work injury, you probably have a basic understanding of the steps needed to get adequate medical attention and benefits.

That being said, for as vast as the internet is, there aren’t many good resources that have compiled facts and helpful statistics that fully illustrate the scope of workers’ compensation in the United States. Until now.

We’ve compiled an extensive list of some of the facts and statistics below, as they pertain to work injury and workers’ compensation claims in the United States and California.

If you have specific questions you’d like to get answered, speak to one of our Riverside workers’ compensation lawyers now.

Workers’ Compensation Statistics

workers compensation national map

  • With the creation of OSHA, worker injuries and illnesses are down on average – from 10.9 incidents per 100 workers in 1972 to 2.8 per 100 in 2019.
  • 4,821 workers were killed on the job in 2020 with 2.7 million more suffering nonfatal injuries and illnesses.
  • Most Dangerous Industries (2020)
  • According to the Travelers Injury Impact Report which analyzed data from 2015-2019, the most common injury causes in workers compensation claims include 29% overexertion, 23% slips, trips and falls, 14% being struck or colliding with an object, and 5% motor vehicle accidents.
  • Most common injuries in claims: 38% strains/sprains, 13% fractures, 8% contusions, 7% inflammation, 7% dislocations, and 5% cuts or puncture wounds.
  • First-year injuries resulted in more than 6 millions days away from work, accounting for 37% of missed workdays.
  • In 2020, the total cost of work injuries was $163.9 billion.
  • The most costly injuries are not the most common: Amputation $102,500, Dislocation $97,100, Electric Shock $55,200, Crushing $54,600, Multiple Trauma $50,000
  • States with highest premiums in 2019, per $100: Wyoming: $1.98, Alaska: $1.95, Montana: $1.77, Hawaii: $1.70, California: $1.67, Idaho: $1.60
  • Employer Spending on Workers’ Compensation (% of total employer compensation costs) was 1.2% in 2021.
  • Nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses resulting in days away from work, private industry, by selected event or exposure (2019):
Event or exposure Total cases
Musculoskeletal disorders 266,530
Fall on same level 153,140
Struck by object 134,620
Overexertion in lifting or lowering 86,740
Transportation incidents 49,430
Fall to lower level 48,040
Struck against object 46,250
Slips, trips without fall 38,700
Exposure to harmful substances or environments 36,840
Caught in object, equipment, material 34,020
Intentional injury by other person 20,870
Repetitive motion involving microtasks 17,160
Animal and insect related incidents 14,390
Injury by person unintentional or intent unknown 9,160
Fires, explosions 1,700


  • Despite common belief, only 1-2% of workers’ compensation claims are fraudulent.
  • How much each limb is worth (National Average as of 2015): Arm – $169,878, Leg – $153,221, Hand – $144,930, Thumb – $42,432, Index Finger – $24,645, Middle Finger – $20,996, Foot – $91,779, Big Toe – $23,436
  • The number of claims filed, denied, and payment amounts by state are updated weekly on the US Department of Labor Website.
  • Almost all states adhere to some form of the exclusive remedy provision, meaning that an additional personal injury claim cannot be filed against employers on top of a workers’ compensation claim except for specific circumstances.

California Workers’ Comp Facts and Stats

  1. All California employers must provide workers’ compensation benefits to their employees under California Labor Code Section 3700.
  2. As of June 13, 2022, California has already seen 13,786 claims filed and a total compensation of $573,895,882.
  3. 72% of California workers hired workers’ compensation lawyers to handle their claims in 2016.
  4. In 2020, 9% of the workers’ compensation claims in California involved the lower back.
  5. In California, the loss of a breast because of cancer is only considered 0-5% disability, so it’s essentially not counted in terms of compensation. Furthermore, less than 3% of medical evaluators are women.
  6. The average California medical benefit per claim is among the highest in the country with costs more than 90% above the countrywide median.
  7. This high cost of medical benefits is not driven by treatment costs but is driven by the length of time a claim remains open and medical benefits are paid.
  8. California has the highest ratio of loss adjustment expenses (expenses associated with investigating and settling claims) to losses in the country.
  9. The cost of workers’ compensation benefits to injured workers is provided by over 500,000 insured employers conducting business in California.
  10. Percent of FROIs (First Report of Injury) by County of Accident Location (2020):
CALIFORNIA COUNTY 2020 FROI Percent FROIs Percent Employment (EDD) Rate of Injury to Employment per 100 employees
Totals 645,409 100% 100% 3.7
LOS ANGELES 163,875 25.40% 26.20% 3.6
ORANGE 51,976 8.10% 8.30% 3.6
SAN DIEGO 48,854 7.60% 8.30% 3.4
SAN BERNARDINO 43,764 6.80% 5.20% 4.8
RIVERSIDE 36,944 5.70% 5.90% 3.6
ALAMEDA 27,508 4.30% 4.30% 3.7
SANTA CLARA 26,020 4.00% 7.90% 1.9
SACRAMENTO 23,677 3.70% 3.80% 3.6
FRESNO 19,368 3.00% 2.30% 4.9
SAN FRANCISCO 15,287 2.40% 1.70% 5.1


  • Indemnity claim frequency by California region (2019): The Los Angles and Long Beach area had the highest claim frequency, over one quarter above average; the Peninsula/Silicon Valley region had the lowest frequency, at 28% below the statewide average claim frequency.
  • Written premiums in California grow at a double-digit annual rate due to higher premium rates and growth in insured payroll.
  • Despite workers’ compensation reform in California, the litigation rate has nearly doubled for all workers’ compensation claims and more than tripled for claims involving lost time.
  • Benefit and expense payments for temporary disability claims with an attorney average $30,319 versus $5,598 for those without; while payments on permanent disability claims with an attorney average $66,208 versus $25,300 for those without (data from 2005-2010).

For help understanding your workers’ compensation case, contact our firm.

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