The easiest way to chase your injured employee to an attorney is to ignore the employee once an injury occurs. Of course the attorney who is interested in maximizing his income, builds-up the employee’s claim by whatever methods are available in the jurisdiction of the injury. The best way to prevent unnecessary attorney representation is through on-going contact with the injured employee.
The employee is human and like all humans craves attention, especially when hurt. In addition to being concerned about the injury, the injured employee is concerned about future employment, future income, ability to take care of the family.
The employee needs reassurance throughout the claim, not just when it is reported. Most companies do a fairly good job of reassuring the employee everything will be taken care of when the workers’ compensation claim is first reported. But, the first report of injury is not the only time the employer needs to be in contact with the employee.
On-going contact with an injured employee actually starts before the injury ever occurs. As apart of the new hire package, the employee should be told what to do in the case of a workers’ compensation injury. The new hire package specifies who the employee reports the work comp claim to, the importance of reporting the claim immediately, the medical treatment providers available (in those jurisdictions allowing the employer to select the medical provider) and the return-to-work program or modified duty program available to them. This sets the stage for active involvement by the employer with the employee throughout the recovery from the work comp injury.
During the initial report of the claim, the employer emphasizes the need for the employee to keep the employer informed about his/her medical treatment and work status. The employee then sees the employer cares about his/her well being, wants a return-to-work as soon as the injured worker is physically able and thus, is much more likely to return to work in a appropriate time frame than to malinger at home off work.
The employer’s work comp coordinator tracks the medical progress of the employee until he/she returns to work. When the employee is going to be off work for an extended period of time, the employer contacts the employee on a monthly basis to see what progress is being made and to confirm the employee’s job is available for return-to-work.
Following a report of the injury, the adjuster contacts the employee within 24 hours of the claim being reported to the adjuster’s office. During this initial contact with the employee, the adjuster obtains all pertinent details about the claim to complete the investigation. With proper people skills the adjuster builds rapport with the employee during this initial contact by taking an active interest in the claim and by obtaining all the information needed to move the claim forward.
The adjuster also advises the employee to call and report any change in the worker’s medical or work status. However, the adjuster does not rely on the employee to report everything happening on the work comp claim. The adjuster as part of a file action plan, in addition to regular contact with the medical provider, plans to contact the employee every 30 days (or less if the situation calls for it) to maintain rapport with the claimant and to ensure a timely forward movement of the work comp claim. (workersxzcompxzkit)
By maintaining on-going contact with the employee, the adjuster is established as the expert on the work comp claim and as the person who will assist the employee with all questions and concerns in regarding the work comp claim. The adjuster is established as the go-to person, creating a positive environment for processing the claim and gives the employee confidence the work injury is important to both the employer and the adjuster. With the confidence built by the adjuster through on-going contact, the likelihood of the employee feeling the need to hire an attorney is greatly diminished and the overall cost of the claim is more effectively controlled.
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By: Private investigator with 25 years experience.
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Do not use this information without independent verification. All state laws vary. You should consult with your insurance broker or agent about workers’ comp issues.
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