Workers’ comp is a crucial safety net set in place to compensate employees who suffer job-related injuries or illnesses financially. The compensatory package covers medical bills, rehabilitation if needed, disability benefits, and lost income, including death benefits owed to the bereaved.
That said, nearly five million claims are filed in the U.S. by both government and private employees. Despite this figure, many American workers are still not familiar with the process of filing an employers workers comp claim.
If you fall within this category, this article is just for you! Read on as we highlight the employers workers comp claim process, providing essential information for both employers and employees.
Step 1: Immediate Medical Attention
Seeking medical attention is the first and most immediate action you should always take in the event of an injury at work (or anywhere, for that matter).
Some injuries necessitate going to an emergency room, such as a construction worker breaking their leg from falling from a high position. Others, such as repetitive strain injury from sitting at a desk for extended periods, may not demand the same urgency. As such, a doctor’s visit for diagnosis or medical care will suffice in such a scenario.
Nonetheless, even if you feel fine, seeing a healthcare professional might be a requirement for the workers’ compensation claim process. You’ll find that some workers’ comp policies might require employees to see a specific doctor, so ask your supervisor about this if possible.
Step 2: Notify Your Employer
The next step after seeking a doctor is informing your employer about the injury. This should be done quickly and within any statutory deadlines. New York State, for example, requires employees to notify their employer within 30 days. However, others allow a period of about a year or more.
That said, it’s advisable to notify your employer in writing to maintain an official record of the incident.
Step 3: Fill Out An Official Claim Form
Having been notified, your employer will provide an official claim form. This report is known as the “first report of injury” and should be completed as quickly as possible.
You should fill it in with details regarding:
- What transpired and when it did
- The location of the incident
- What type of injury was sustained as a result, and the subsequent medical treatment received
- Any involved parties, such as eyewitnesses.
Step 4: Evaluation By The Insurance Company
After your employer files the claim with the insurance company and the state’s workers comp board, the former will evaluate it and determine its validity.
If the insurer accepts you, they will notify you about the benefits you are entitled to. At this juncture, you can either accept the benefits offered or negotiate a settlement you deem fair.
However, if the claim is rejected, you are well within your rights to lodge a formal appeal with the help of a workman’s comp attorney. These legal professionals not only help workers understand their rights but also fight to ensure they’re respected.
Preparing For A Workers’ Compensation Claim: Tips For Employers
It’s essential to be prepared for potential employers’ workers’ comp claims. Here are a few tips to help you navigate the process:
- Educate Your Employees: Let your employees know their rights and their possible benefits under employers workers comp. This information should be included in your new hire employment packet.
- Report Injuries Promptly: Report any workplace injuries as soon as possible in accordance with state deadlines.
- Accurately Classify Employees and Injuries: To avoid potential legal issues, you must accurately classify employees and injuries.
- Implement a Return to Work Program: Consider implementing a formal return-to-work program to help injured workers resume their jobs safely and quickly.
Employers’ workers comp benefits aren’t automatic, and certain steps must be followed to ensure a successful claim. Therefore, it behooves both workers and employers to understand the claim process for benefits to be provided swiftly.
Looking ahead, workers compensation insurance will have to evolve and adapt to the needs of a workforce that’s leaning toward remote working. It remains to be seen how these changes will impact the existing worker’s comp claim handling process in the coming years.