The U.S. Government Accountability Office in 2009 said that more than a third of health practitioners surveyed were asked by company managers to provide treatment that wouldn’t necessarily require a formal injury or illness report. The government doesn’t require that a minor injury, such as a burn treated with a bandage, be recorded but does require recording for, say, a burn treated with prescription cream.

Though workers’ compensation costs have fallen, legal disputes can be expensive.

Workers’ comp programs are intended to avert costly legal battles over accidents, says Emily Spieler, a law professor at Northeastern University and former head of the West Virginia workers’ comp program.

Instead, she says, “it’s become incredibly contentious, to nobody’s benefit.”