Many small business owners in California want to improve safety but do not have the resources for it. On the other hand, older and larger businesses that do have the money and resources can actually benefit by not investing in safety. According to an international study, companies can survive up to 56% longer by dealing with workers’ compensation claims as opposed to improving safety so that such claims never arise.

The study looked at the survival of more than 100,000 Oregon-based companies over a period of 25 years. By “survival,” it’s meant the ability to continue operating even when faced with a change in owners. Researchers focused on disabling claims, or workers’ comp claims where the victim suffered a permanent disability or a temporary one that resulted in at least three days taken off work.

Researchers found that companies with over 100 employees that face workers’ comp claims have a greater chance of improving their profits and survival than similar-sized companies that do not face claims. This holds true up until the time when quarterly claims go over $9 million, but most companies never reach that level to begin with. As for companies with fewer than 30 employees, it makes little difference to their survival if they see claims or not.

Business owners face a dilemma, then, because while they are required to hold up current safety standards, they may hurt productivity by doing so. In any event, employees who are hurt on the job may be eligible for benefits under workers’ compensation law. Filing the claim can be difficult, though, especially since employers can deny payment and necessitate an appeal. Victims may hire a lawyer for assistance at each step. If they have reached maximum medical improvement, then they may want to ask their lawyer how they can settle the case.