Workers Comp Injuries vs. Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs
Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs may explain why injured workers react to their workers comp injuries in so many different ways. Let us look at the below triangle.
Where Do Workers Comp Injuries Fit On the Chart?
I have found this chart invaluable for understanding how and when injured employees become frustrated with the Work Comp system. This is not employee advocacy. Please consider it more of an insight into handling claims.
The needs at the bottom form the base. Without the basic needs fulfilled, workers comp injuries can become all-encompassing for the injured worker.
Workers comp injuries tend to cover almost all of the chart.
Where do food, water, warmth, and rest come from in a workers comp claim? Providing timely benefits with an explanation of what to expect will usually avoid any confrontational situations at the first of the claim. I am sure that many claim adjusters supervisors and managers can tell you that if these needs are not met, the employee will vehemently complain and/or seek legal representation.
Workers comp claims can wreck the safety and security needs of an injured employee. One day they are a productive employee, the next day they are a claimant with a whole new system of rules and regulations. If the injured employee has a severe injury, then the safety needs are not met due to the accident.
Effect of Workers Comp Injuries on Rest of Chart
Even if the above basic needs are covered, belongingness, esteem, and self-actualization needs are all very important. Many of these are covered when the injured employee returns to work.
Injured employees want to still “fit in” and belong to their workgroup. The main concept to remember is these needs become unimportant to the employee when the above basic needs have not yet been met satisfactorily.
When I first came across this in college, I wrote a few papers on the hierarchy to get through the Sociology and Psychology classes. When I became an insurance worker in the 1980s, I put the chart to good use when handling claims. Workers Comp tends to be more personal as the injured worker relies on the claims adjuster or staff to provide for their physiological and safety needs at the beginning of a claim.
Bottom Line – delayed benefits on workers comp injuries can easily ruin the whole claim from day one.