The US Bureau of Labor Statistics recently stated that approximately three million workplace injuries occurred in the US in one year. For every 100 full-time workers in this country, about three of them were injured at their jobs.
As an employer, you play a distinct role to make sure that injured workers are compensated for any medical costs they incur for their workplace injuries. Read further on what you need to know to facilitate the workers' comp claim process.
What is Workers' Compensation?
Workers' compensation is insurance found in every US state that guarantees that employees injured on the job will receive compensation to defray their medical costs. These laws exist so that workers don’t have to sue their employer for reimbursement.
Worker’s compensation only applies to injuries that occurred on the company’s premises. Under the current worker’s compensation laws, most companies need to secure workers compensation insurance before they can open their doors and do business.
Workers' Comp Claim Process
Even though every US state has its own distinct worker’s compensation statutes, most workers comp procedures, contain some of the following procedural steps:
The best way to protect employees is to develop an emergency response plan that can prevent injuries and reduce worksite hazards in the first place. Train your staff and managers on workplace safety and how to minimize risk. Keep emergency contact information in your files for all of your employees.
Take Immediate Action
Once you’re aware that an injury has taken place, move this injured employee to a safe place. Keep other workers out of these dangerous areas as well.
Once you’ve assessed the situation, apply first aid to the injured employee with first aid supplies you regularly keep stocked and accessible. If the injuries sustained need treatment that’s beyond basic first aid, contact emergency medical professionals to the site immediately.
Gather Evidence and Other Facts
Evidence plays a central role in the workers' compensation claim process. Record essential details on the accident that took place. Take pictures of the area or equipment where the accident occurred.
Interview any witnesses to gather their testimony. Keep updated notes on any injuries reported at the site. This information might be helpful if the worker later reports any delayed onset injuries.
Filing a Workers' Comp Claim
Work with your injured worker to file their claim with your company’s insurance company. Your insurance company will ask their workers compensation doctor to exam the injured employee. Another workers compensation procedure includes submitting a copy of the claim to your state workers compensation board.
Once your insurance provider and the state workers compensation board have reviewed the claim, they’ll notify the injured employee. They’ll let the employee know if their claim was accepted and how much reimbursement they can expect.
Be Aware of Possible Outcomes
If your employee decides to sue the company, be cooperative, and share any relevant information you have with their claims adjusters or lawyers. Employees can also reopen a closed workers comp claim after it is settled if they think they have good cause to pursue additional reimbursement.
The best way to protect your employees and your company is to create written documents ahead of time that outlines your worker’s comp claim process. These documents can also include guidance on your return-to-work policy as well. Distribute this information when you onboard new employees.
Don’t forget to check our website for more workers' comp claim process information. We’re here to help your company reach its professional best.