Workers’ Compensation Do’s and Don’ts for Employers and their Workers
July 1, 2019
Imagine getting hurt on the job and then having to sue your employer to prove they were at fault for your workplace injury.
That’s how it was in the early 1900s. Back then, workers had to go to court if they wanted to claim their injury was the result of an unsafe work environment.
Labor laws have changed dramatically – for the better – since those days. By 1949, employers in every state in the U.S. were required to provide some type of workers’ compensation insurance for their employees.
Now, depending on what state you live in, workers’ compensation insurance can provide money for lost wages, reimbursement for medical bills, and even life insurance for your dependents if you die on the job.
If, as we do, you happen to run a business in Colorado, state law requires a business to have workers’ compensation coverage if they have even one employee.
According to government statistics, there are approximately 3 million work-related illnesses and injuries reported every year, or approximately 2.9 cases per 100 full-time employees. Benefit payments totaled nearly $62 billion for the most recent year in which figures were available.
Construction, as you might imagine, sees its fair share of work-related injuries but so does manufacturing, the retail sector and even finance and insurance, among others.
So, what are some of the do’s and don’ts for employers and injured workers considering filing a workers’ compensation claim? Let’s start with employers:
- Do get medical treatment for your employee. Give your employee your designated provider list notification letter and take your employee to the doctor. Your employee will appreciate your concern, and you will gain important information about the injury, recommended treatment and outlook for returning to work.
- Do investigate the accident. Use your carrier’s Accident/incident Investigation Report and Employee Accident Report. Complete your investigation immediately, before memories fade and evidence is lost.
- Do report the injury to your carrier, don’t wait to report if you don’t have all the information.
- Do complete a plan for modified duty if your employee is unable to return to regular duty work.
Here, too, are a few do’s and don’ts that, if you’re an employer, you can share with your workers:
- Do file a claim on a timely basis. Waiting does no one any good and only raises questions about the seriousness of your injury.
- Do take time to review the important information about your rights, responsibilities, benefits and assistance available to you sent by the claims examiner and the state workers’ compensation agency. It’s important to understand your benefits and to be actively engaged in helping to manage your claim.
- Do be honest and upfront about the injury and any prior injuries or accidents to the affected body parts. It’s crucial to be thoroughly transparent about your injury or risk losing your benefit.
- Do communicate with the employer and the claims adjuster about your medical status and work status to avoid delays in receiving benefits and the necessary medical treatment.
- Do follow the doctor’s orders. Ignoring them puts your health at risk, not to mention your benefits. Along these lines, don’t discontinue medical treatment before being released.
- Don’t seek medical treatment from unauthorized providers. Going to a doctor who’s out of your network could leave you without coverage.
- Don’t delay returning to work once you’re able.
Michael Kline is a CCIG Vice President. Reach him at Michael.Kline@thinkccig.com or 720-212-2042.
CCIG is a Denver-area insurance brokerage with personal and business insurance clients nationwide. We do more than make sure you have the right policy. We also help you lower your long-term cost of insurance with our risk and claims management expertise and a commitment to service excellence.
Related: Why Workers’ Compensation Isn’t for Workers Only
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