Posted by Bob Edens & filed under workers' compensation attorney .

Do have an obesity-related health condition such as hypertension or diabetes? Did you know that it can affect your workers’ compensation claim? Probably not. Today, over 35 percent of Americans are obese, and it is estimated that this figure will rise to 51 percent by 2030. The impact of obesity and related conditions is profound, if you take into account the employer paid healthcare costs for obese workers that mount up to $8 billion annually.

According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), obesity-related health conditions, especially diabetes, are the culprit behind the rising employee healthcare costs. Approximately 65 percent of the workforce today is obese or morbidly obese. Due to this, the cost and resolution of workers’ comp claims involving obese workers is significantly high.

How Obesity Affects Workers from Performing their Duties

Workers with obesity-related issues face the challenge of meeting the physical requirements of their workplace duties. Obese workers may struggle with:

  • Walking long distances
  • Standing or sitting for long periods
  • Lifting, pulling or pushing, or performing any strenuous activities
  • Reaching above shoulder level
  • Balancing
  • Crouching, climbing, crawling, bending, kneeling, stooping, bending

Obese workers experience difficulty with these and other physical activities because their body isn’t designed to handle the exhausting burden of carrying excessive weight. The joints and spine are incapable of sustaining the force of any type of damage when coupled with excess weight. As a result, weight challenged workers are at a higher risk of workplace injury.

How Obesity Affects Workers’ Comp Claims

An obesity-related disease can affect your work in terms of productivity, focus, and efficiency, and if you sustain a workplace injury, it will impact your workers’ comp claim. The following are some factors that may be considered during the settlement of your claim:

  • Whether having an obesity-related health condition is an independent cause of your incapacity to perform certain duties requiring physical activity
  • Whether the prevalent cause of the injury is work-related conditions or a result of the progressive obesity-related disease

According to a Duke University study, weight challenged workers filed twice as many workers’ comp claims as compared to workers with a healthy BMI. Moreover, the healthcare costs associated with workplace injuries of obese workers were seven times higher, and they took 13 times more days to recover.

Pre-existing health conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, and hypertension, which are the most prevalent obesity-related chronic conditions, significantly increase the medical care costs, and hence affect the workers’ comp claims. In addition, the presence any of these diseases makes the recovery slow and complicated which further contributes to the increasing costs.

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Getting help for Workers’ Compensation Claims

The duration, frequency, and severity of workers’ comp claims related to obese workers are quite complicated in nature. It is important that you have an experienced workers’ compensation attorney by your side to represent your case. Contact the Law Offices of Robert T. Edens, P.C. at (847) 395-2200 or online today to schedule your initial consultation with our firm.

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