Do you know how to get a Workers’ Compensation Insurance claim resolved as quickly and easily as possible? If not, you should. Whether you’re the employer or the unfortunate injured employee, you have enough to worry about without having to get a lawyer involved and dragging the case out.
It’s best to be prepared beforehand. Here are four steps to making sure your next claim is painless and successful – well, as painless as a work injury can be.
1. Get Immediate Help
For employers: If a worker is injured in an accident, get them medical attention as soon as possible. If it’s serious or life-threatening, call an ambulance right away. For lesser injuries, suggest they go to the hospital and let them know they’re covered under Workers’ Comp for the medical expenses.
You can’t make a worker go to the hospital against their will, but at least make sure they’re aware of the option. You may even consider having them sign a form indicating they were made aware of their rights if they choose not to seek medical treatment.
For employees: Get help! Don’t be afraid to go to the hospital to get checked out. Also, this is very important: let your employer know you’re injured right away. This helps them piece together what happened and understand why you’re injured.
2. Gather Evidence and Records
For employers: When the immediate medical needs are taken care of, you should then start documenting and gathering evidence. Your main goal is to provide a clear picture of what happened, so that further along in the process any insurance professionals or attorneys can refer to your records if they have a question. To do:
- Collect witness statements from anyone who saw the accident.
- Document when, where, and how the injury occurred in an accident report. Have the injured employee fill one out as well, if they’re able.
- Keep a record of conversations you have with your employee concerning his or her claim.
In some cases, a Workers’ Comp claim may be the result of long-term strain, rather than a sudden accident (e.g., a carpal tunnel syndrome Workers’ Comp claim). The evidence for these cases may stretch over a longer period of time and involve records of safety inspections, employee-supervisor conversations, or other applicable pieces of evidence.
For employees: Keep track of doctor visits, hospital bills, and other medical expenses. The insurance carrier will likely ask for copies.
3. Stay in Communication
For employers: Most employees who suffer a work injury just want to heal, recover, and get back to work. They don’t want to hassle with a Worker’s Comp claim any more than you do. But on top of the stress of the injury itself, their financial security and future is a very real concern.
As their employer, you should help ease that stress and make sure they know they’re taken care of. Doing so not only makes you look good as a kind-hearted person, it helps to prevent a messy legal battle.
An employee who knows their medical bills are covered and can go back to work isn’t as likely to go to an attorney. They will go, however, if you don’t make any effort to reassure them it’s going to be okay.
When a worker is injured…
- Make sure they’re receiving the care they need.
- Offer them light or modified work duties so they don’t miss work or lose wages.
- If an employee is forced to be out for a while, keep in contact with them so they don’t feel forgotten.
For employees: If you haven’t heard from your employer about the status of your claim, ask them about it. Don’t threaten to hire an attorney unless your employer is stonewalling you and you can’t get any answers. Otherwise, work to stay in touch and provide any information or paperwork they need.
4. Leave the Rest to the Professionals
For employers: When a worker is injured, or you’re made aware that they’re making a claim, contact your insurance provider and let them know right away. Your job then is to help make their job easier. That’s where all the evidence and documentation comes in handy.
You’re also a point of contact between the insurance carrier and the injured worker, so you can help communicate and coordinate to get the needed information in the right hands as quickly as possible.
For employees: The people best suited to resolving a Workers’ Comp claim are the people who do it professionally – the insurance professionals, attorneys, and administrators who have experience dealing with Workers’ Comp every day. You can help them resolve the claim quickly by providing the documents they ask for.
For both: If you’re not entirely sure how Workers’ Comp works, check out an Overview of Workers’ Compensation Insurance for Technology Businesses or our Top 10 Workers’ Comp Insurance Questions.