1. Obtain immediate medical assistance for the employee – guide the employee to the appropriate medical facility.
2. Call the medical facility and advise an accident just occurred, the nature of the accident and the type of injury to allow the facility to be ready immediately upon the arrival of the injured employee.
3. Advise the medical facility of the light duty jobs you can offer the employee.
4. Do not allow the macho man to delay treatment of minor injuries – the employee will end up seeking medical care from their family doctor or hospital emergency room, the cost will be higher and the control over when the employee can return to work will be diminished.
5. Have a goal of returning all injured employees to work within 3 days unless the employee is unable to perform any role for the employer.
6. Report the claim immediately to the claims office with full details.
7. Provide all necessary state forms to the claims office or the appropriate department within the state government.
8. Place on your calendar a weekly reminder to contact the employee until the employee is ready to return to work.
3. Best Practices Post Injury
The employer needs to continue to manage the work comp process. The best practices for the employer after the injury include:
1. Contact the claims office to confirm receipt of the first report of injury, wage documentation, and any other information that should have been provided to them with the claims report.
2. Advise the claims adjuster of the employee's prior workers comp claim history, as the approach the adjuster will take on the claim will vary significantly between the employee who has never had an injury and the employee who files his annual summer/hunting season/winter holidays work comp claim.
3. Make the internal arrangements for the injured employee to return to work on modified duty.
4. Arrange for the injured employee's supervisor and co-workers to discuss the claim with the adjuster.
5. Be empathetic with the employee and let the employee know the company cares about the employee.
6. Maintain regular contact with the employee, either weekly or after each medical visit until the employee is released to return to work.
7. Coordinate with the employee, the medical provider and the adjuster the employee's return to work.
8. Monitor the state filings by the adjuster and all claims related paperwork.(WCxKit)
In summary, the above recommended best practices are not meant to be an all inclusive list of the things the employer can do to control workers compensation claims. These suggestions and guidelines should be supplemented by other processes the employer has established to handle their workers' compensation claims.
Author Rebecca Shafer, JD, President of Amaxx Risk 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. See www.LowerWC.com for more information. Contact: RShafer@ReduceYourWorkersComp.com.
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