- Quickly report all claims to the insurer.
Some states have requirements for how quickly a workers compensation claim must be reported. Insurance carriers have specific departments that deal with claims exclusively. They will know the process thoroughly for filing a workers’ compensation claim. Because this is a process your business hopefully does not deal with frequently, getting your injured worker the proper coverage quickly will be easier with the help of your carrier. Documenting the claims allows the carriers to pick up on patterns and help businesses develop programs to prevent common injuries.
- Make sure supervisors are adequately trained.
Taking care of an injured employee may not be at the top of the priority list when hiring a manager for your business. Hopefully it is not something your managers have to encounter very frequently, but it needs to be something they can effectively deal with for the success of your business. Many businesses have a point person who studies the workers compensation claim process thoroughly. It is still important to have this person train the other managers to be aware of this process in case of an incident occurring when they are not on duty or away on vacation.
- Keep complete notes of the injury and reporting process.
Note taking is crucial in everything you do within your business. This is especially important when you experience a workers compensation insurance claim. It may seem tedious, but it can save your business immensely if a claim makes it into the court of law. Besides the fact you need to cover your business legally, accurate documentation helps your carrier document injuries within your industry. They can use this information to see patterns and to determine appropriate safety programs to deal with those patterns.
- Communication is key.
Communicating with all parties involved in the workers compensation claim is extremely important. This starts with communicating with your employee. In most states they have the right to seek a second opinion, but the more you keep your carrier in the loop of these situations the better they can help you control the cost of the claim. Separate from the cost of the claim, it is in your best interest to let your injured employee know you care about their well-being. Communicating with both your insurance agent and carrier is important as well. The carrier is the one equipped to handle the claim, not your agent. The agent can be helpful if you feel your carrier is not living up to your expectations. Keeping them updated on the workers compensation claim can help you ensure you are getting the proper attention from your carrier and they can help you prepare for explaining the claim when you go to renew your policy.
- Prevent employees from injuries.
Safety programs are key to the long term success of your business. Making a safety plan part of your ongoing training is essential to your business and it does not have to take a lot of time. Fifteen minute discussions two or three times a month should be sufficient. Make sure the meetings have a specific topic and ask for feedback from your employees. Asking for their feedback gets them involved in the discussion. This will make them more involved in the program. It can lead to higher job satisfaction if those employees feel like you are listening and make changes based on their feedback.
- Create a return to work program.
Studies have shown that the quicker a person gets back on the job in any form or fashion, the more likely they are to return to permanent work. Humans are creatures of habit. Coming to work is part of their habit and the longer they go without that habit the more likely they are to create new habits not associated with your business. This is when a claim can get out of control if an injured employee goes on long term or permanent disability. Designing low impact work of some kind will allow those employees to return to work and get back in the routine of work quicker.