The Claim Settlement
Normally, it is up to the adjuster to negotiate the settlement of the workers comp claim. However, there will be occasions when the employer needs to be involved in the settlement discussions. This would include:
- Attending depositions and hearings – right from the start, participate in all hearings.
- Attending the settlement conference (with settlement authority if you are self-insured). This lets all parties in the process know your company is interested in the outcome of the process.
- Working with the vocational rehabilitation specialist to accommodate the employee’s return to work if there are any ADA concerns. (WCxKit)
- Providing rehabilitation training if necessary. Not only will this possibly reduce the amount of a settlement it may increase the outcome of the medical and work potential of the employee.
What You Cannot Do
Occasionally employers go overboard in their efforts to control the cost of workers comp claims. There are some actions you cannot do including:
- Going without workers compensation insurance. This is a criminal offense in most states, you will pay fines, you will pay the claim out of company funds and you could end up paying your own cost to defend a lawsuit from the injured employee.
- You cannot terminate the employee for filing a workers comp claim.
- You cannot refuse to hire an employee solely because of prior workers comp claim history (unless the prior injury(s) makes it impossible for the employee to do the job under consideration).
- You cannot charge an employee with any part of the workers comp premium.
- You cannot pay the small claims out of company funds and not report them to the workers comp insurer.(WCxKit)Although some companies DO self-pay the small claims it remains a controversial practice. Peter Rousmaniere, a writer for LRP’s Risk & Insurance Magazine, is currently researching this practice, and the results of that will be interesting.
By staying involved in the workers comp claim from before the claim happens to the time the claim is concluded, you will have a strong, positive impact on the cost of your workers compensation insurance. If you have any questions about handling your workers comp claims, please contact us.
Author Rebecca Shafer, JD, President of Amaxx Risks Solutions, Inc. is a national expert in the field of workers compensation. She is a writer, speaker and website publisher. Her expertise is working with employers to reduce workers compensation costs, and her clients include airlines, healthcare, printing/publishing, pharmaceuticals, retail, hospitality and manufacturing.
Contact: RShafer@ReduceYourWorkersComp.com or 860-553-6604.
WORK COMP CALCULATOR: http://www.LowerWC.com/calculator.php
MODIFIED DUTY CALCULATOR: http://www.LowerWC.com/transitional-duty-cost-calculator.php
WC GROUP: http://www.linkedin.com/groups?homeNewMember=&gid=1922050/
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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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