A common question asked by business owners and employers is “should I report this work related injury now or wait till I have more information?” We recommend that you report work-related injuries and illnesses within 24 hours, so that your insurance carrier can properly investigate and determine eligibility for workers compensation benefits. The longer you wait the more costly it will be, which will ultimately impact your workers compensation insurance premiums.
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There is a direct relationship between the time a claim is reported and increased claims costs. Claims that are reported within two weeks of an injury are 18% more expensive than those reported within one week of the occurrence. Another disturbing fact is 22% of claims reported within 10 days are litigated, and 47% become litigated when the reports arrive more than 31 days following the date of injury. A big reason for this is the injured worker may feel neglected. Providing careful and considerate handling of the employees injury and communicating with the carriers claims adjuster and the employee is critical in reducing claims cost until they are returned to work and found permanent and stationary . An initial contact made soon after the accident or event helps reassure the injured worker that their claim is receiving attention and helps answer questions the injured worker may have thus avoiding litigation which drives claims costs up.
The more time that passes between the date of injury and the date the claim is reported the less likely that a claim examiner will be able to successfully complete their investigation. This investigation is critical in order to determine whether the claim is compensable or not.
Is important to have written company policies and procedures concerning prompt reporting of all work related injuries including management and employee training on their duties to report and investigate workplace injuries. We recommend that you refer to the “employer’s duties if injury or illness occurs” section of your insurance policy. In that section you may find items such as ;
1. Advise the carrier immediately when a work injury occurs
2. Provide immediate medical and other services required by the workers comp law, including utilizing the recommended medical facility
3. Promptly give the claims adjuster all notices, demands and legal papers related to the injury, claim or lawsuit.
4. Cooperate with the claims adjuster and assist them in the investigation, settlement or defense of any claim, proceeding or suit.
5. Do nothing after an injury occurs that would interfere with the carrier’s rights to recover from others. This means do not assume liability nor sign documents without discussing with the claims adjuster.
6. Do not make voluntary payments, assume obligations or incur expenses, except at your own expense
it is recommended that employers report incidents as “record only” when unsure as to whether an employee’s injury is work related or compensable. This alerts the carrier of a potential claim and allows them to investigate early as to possible acceptability or or compensability of a claim.
For more information on how you can save money on workers compensation insurance premiums contact our office.