June 29, 2020
Four reasons why reporting work injuries immediately helps you and your employees
If there was an easy way to ensure better medical treatment and a faster, smoother recovery for each of your organization’s injured workers, would you do it?
What if it was as simple as making sure that employees at your organization report injuries as soon as possible after they occur?
Here are four key benefits to reporting work injuries to your workers’ compensation insurer as soon as possible:
- Better medical care.
Sometimes injured workers are unsure whether they need medical care. That's why we offer the option for workers to speak with a nurse when you report injuries by phone. This helps prevent both under-treatment and over-treatment.
- Better accident investigation.
Figuring out what caused an accident is important because it helps you determine how to best prevent a similar one in the future. Investigating an accident can also help bring your attention to the rare case in which an employee is committing fraud. Talking with witnesses and the employee right away will help you get the best picture of what happened, or misstatements in the employee’s story, before memory of the incident fades.
- Better contact with medical providers.
When you learn about work injuries before your employees seek treatment, you have the chance to be proactive in working with medical providers. You can give the injured employee a work ability report to be completed by the doctor so that you know which work restrictions the employee has, and you can let the doctor know you offer light-duty work.
- Better communication with injured employees.
Staying in contact with injured employees, and assuring them they’ll have jobs to return to is the number one way to prevent litigation. Injured employees tend to seek out attorneys when they feel their livelihood is in jeopardy. When your employees report their injuries right away, you get the opportunity to assure them right away that they will be taken care of.
Avoid fines by reporting injuries right away
An additional benefit of reporting injuries right away is avoiding fines.
Even if a claim isn’t compensable, insurers — and ultimately employers in some cases — face fines for late denial of liability if claims aren’t reported on time.
Fines range from $100 to $5,000.
Penalties can be twofold. Depending on the state, insurers can be charged both for reporting late and making late benefit payments to injured workers, so reporting late can cause fines to add up quickly. If there is a penalty due to the employer reporting late, the insurer may seek reimbursement from the employer, depending on the state. In some states, the employer may be fined directly by the regulatory agency.
If you question the legitimacy of a claim, still report it right away and let the claims representative look into it.
If you’re like most professionals, you have so much to do each day that some tasks must be delayed for another day. Don’t let injury reporting become one of those tasks. Instead, report right away to save yourself time in the long run and ensure the best outcome for your injured employee and your organization.
Need to know how to report an injury? If you’re an SFM policyholder, visit the Report an Injury page for details.
This is not intended to serve as legal advice for individual fact-specific legal cases or as a legal basis for your employment practices.