Reporting Workers’ Compensation Claims
Workers’ Compensation can be difficult to understand due to the variation of laws from state to state. Regardless of your company’s location on a map, the first two days after an employee is injured are the most important.
It is imperative to take action quickly for legal reasons but, also because studies have shown that the faster you initiate the Workers’ Compensation process after an injury, the lower your ultimate cost of your claims. Also, waiting longer than 48 hours after an accident occurs gives the injured party and witness’s time to forget crucial details about what has happened. It also can mean employees’ recollections can be skewed from the opinions of outside parties such as an attorney.
You can help your company and save money by taking the following steps in the 48 hours after an employee reports an injury:
Refer employee for medical attention
- If the injury is an emergency, seek immediate care for the employee. All state Workers’ Compensation laws allow the injured employee to seek any doctor in an urgent situation. If the injury is not an emergency, refer the employee to a medical provider within your company’s network.
- Never prevent an employee from getting medical attention, even if you feel the injury is not serious.
Perform an assessment or accident investigation
- Visit the place where the injury occurred and the surrounding environment. Speak with employees who witnessed the event or who work in close proximity to where the incident occurred.
- Be thorough in your investigation, and also be sure to gather consistent information for all incidents. Make sure you begin your investigation within the first 48 hours so that the details of the accident or injury are fresh in the minds of employees.
Immediately ensure the injury or accident will not happen again
- After investigating the site, take the necessary steps to make sure the incident will not occur again.
Report the injury
- According to the Department of Labor, several reports must be made when an injury occurs in the workplace. Complete a First Report of Injury or Occupational Disease form as required by your state Workers’ Compensation law. The incident should also be reported to the HR department, the employee’s direct supervisor, and the medical provider who saw or treated the employee.
- Report the incident objectively
Inform employee about company policies on returning to work
- It is crucial to review work restrictions and leave procedures but also to inform the employee about the possibility of transitional-duty jobs that would suit their needs during the injury recovery period.
Submit the Workers’ Compensation claim
- This step is important in order for your insurance provider to begin their own investigation and make timely payments; the provider can also give you valuable information regarding medical care.