No employer wants to see an employee get hurt. An injury is a traumatic experience not only for the victim but also for the supervisor and fellow employees. A workplace injury might leave everyone in shock, but it’s crucial that the proper reports and paperwork (including the workers’ compensation claim) are filled out as quickly as possible.
Making sure the employee gets the medical attention they need is the priority, of course, but the next tasks that need to be done are the claim paperwork and the report. There are several reasons why it’s important to file your claim as soon as you can, which we’ll explain, and we’ll also give you some tips that will help you speed up the process of filing the claim and the report.
Why you should file your workers’ compensation claim ASAP
1. Reporting workplace injuries or illnesses with promptness improves employee trust in your business.
If employees see that you handle a workplace injury with compassion and care, they’ll know how much your business values them. They need to see that you’ll do everything in your power to ensure that employees get the medical attention they need. Filing the claim quickly also lets them know that you want them to get the benefits they’re entitled to.
2. You’ll maintain compliance with important workplace laws.
Employers who have more than ten employees and who do not have partially exempt status are obligated to report and record workplace injuries. (“Partially exempt status” usually applies to businesses that are in low-risk industries.)
There are certain injuries that, by law, must be reported to the Occupational Safety Health Administration, or OSHA, within a specified amount of time. For example, any workplace deaths must be reported within eight hours. Inpatient hospitalizations, losses of limbs, or losses of eyes must be reported within 24 hours.
Aside from reporting to OSHA, employers are also required to keep records of any significant workplace injury or illness. A “recordable situation” is one that resulted in death, time away from work, limited working capabilities, medical treatment more extensive than first-aid, or unconsciousness.
3. Late claims may not go through.
Your business insurance policy may give you a certain amount of time to report a workplace injury. If you don’t meet this deadline, your coverage—not just the claim—could be cancelled. You don’t want that to happen.
4. Claims that are investigated sooner generally have better outcomes.
You want to make sure that your employee and your business are taken care of if something terrible happens. Filing your claim sooner rather than later allows for the insurance investigation to happen earlier, which is beneficial to everyone for several reasons. For instance:
- You’ll be able to resume your business’s normal activity sooner.
- You’ll make it easier on the insurance claim adjuster when they come to investigate. This is a good thing.
- Your investigation will be more thorough. Witnesses will be able to remember what happened more clearly, which helps when it comes to your workers’ compensation claim.
5. The sooner the claim is filed, the lower the cost.
Filing your claim earlier has financial advantages. The National Council on Compensation Insurance (NCCI), the organization that oversees workers’ comp regulations, found that claims costs rose after seven days.
How to make the process more efficient
There are many reasons that your claim could be hindered, most of which are unintentional. Your employees might not know the protocol if they get hurt—they may simply go to their own doctor rather than telling their supervisor and asking what to do. The worker may hope that the pain will fade on its own. Or they could be wary of what their supervisor will say or do if they tell them.
You can do the following to make sure that your claim gets filed quickly:
1. Have proper training for your supervisors and employees.
By training both your supervisors and your employees about what to do if an injury happens, you’ll ensure that the injury-reporting process goes as smoothly as possible. Your supervisors will be able to help your employee through the situation. Training also ensures that employees know what to do if they get hurt and that they will get the medical care they need.
2. Make sure that employees will be treated with respect.
You don’t want your employees to be afraid of what their supervisor will say if they’re injured. By making your business’s dedication to healing extremely clear to both supervisors and workers, you can help your employees feel more comfortable with coming forward about their injury.
Show sympathy and compassion to your employees if they’re injured. Make sure they know that you want them to get better soon and that you’re eager to see them back at work. Ask them how their treatment is going. Sit down with them to come up with a plan for their return to work (return to work programs generally lead to better health results.)
3. Create a plan.
Make a plan for the first 24 hours following an injury. See to it that a written copy of this plan is distributed throughout the business and encourage people to ask questions about it. Having this plan creates a standardized procedure that’s easy to follow and provides guidance for everyone. Plus, knowing that this plan is in place will help employees feel better about their job security and health.
Facing a serious injury in the workplace is traumatic and frightening for all involved. The last thing on your mind might be the workers’ compensation claim, but there are many reasons that the claim and the report or record for OSHA should be taken care of as soon as possible. It’s not just about the money—it’s about making sure that your employees get the best possible medical care and letting them know that they can trust you and your company.
If you have any questions about filing a workers’ comp claim or about your business’s insurance, give us a call. We can help you with any of your workers’ comp needs. Or we can get you a free quote for your workers’ comp insurance!