One workers’ compensation claim can send your experience modifier spiraling out of control if the injured employee stays away from work for an extended period of time.
The longer they are off work, the more costly the claim becomes since they will continue receiving temporary disability payments. That’s in addition to any medical expenses that are incurred.
Long open claims can hurt your future insurance premiums as well, so it’s to your benefit to work with the doctor, the injured worker and the insurance company claims adjuster to get the claim closed as soon as is feasible and safe for the injured worker.
Here are eight ways to support your injured workers and get claims closed:
1. Report accidents promptly
Require workers to report accidents immediately, no matter how minor.
While some injuries require just first aid that can be taken care of using first aid supplies (which you should have on hand as per Cal/OSHA requirements), others are more serious. If you are unsure whether first aid can fix the problem, it’s best to send the worker to a doctor.
2. Accompany worker to the clinic
Ask a supervisor to accompany the injured employee to the industrial clinic you have pre-chosen. There are good reasons for doing this, including:
- There are reports of lawyers soliciting employees going into and out of clinics.
- You gain useful feedback from your supervisor regarding the length of time it takes to be seen and how sanitary the clinic is. A filthy clinic does not send a good message to your employees.
- Having someone along shows you care about the worker’s well-being and how serious the injury may be.
3. Investigate the accident
As soon as an accident is reported, investigate to determine what happened. Identify witnesses and separate and interview them one at a time to fully understand the whole story.
4. Explain the process
Explain the workers’ comp process and file the necessary claim forms.
Answer the employee’s inquiries quickly and designate someone as the primary contact.
5. Don’t leave them hanging
One reason that injured workers get an attorney is that they feel abandoned by their employer. Assign a supervisor to visit with the employee on a regular basis to keep them motivated to return to work and to answer any questions they have.
Positive, encouraging messages of the employee’s value to the company are often the best medicine.
6. Return them to work
Have a return-to-work program in place. If the physician clears the individual to return to work or for light duty with restrictions, make sure the worker, their supervisor and fellow employees understand the restrictions.
7. Have coverage with a doctor network
Establish relationships with doctors who have expertise in occupational medicine and understand the value of returning injured employees to work.
8. Monitor the claim
We can help you monitor the claim to ensure it’s on track. You can also make a point of regularly reaching out to the claims adjuster as well as the employee.