The actions of the employer in the minutes after an injury accident occurs can have a major impact on the overall outcome of the workers compensation claim. The proper actions and following the proper procedures in the post-accident response will have a definite impact on the overall outcome of the claim.
Unfortunately, the standard post-accident response is to drive the injured employee to the doctor and to send in the claim report to the insurance company or third party claims administrator. If that is the total response to an injury, you can expect to have more than your share of negative outcomes. (WCxKit)
The proper management of the post-accident response entails having a defined role and established procedures for the employee, the employee’s supervisor and the workers compensation coordinator to follow in every claim. The training of the staff on the steps they should take is important to a post-accident response.
The role of each person and the procedures they follow should be in a written format to ensure uniformity in the application and effectiveness. A standardized response will result in better-cost containment and maintain a higher level of employee appreciation for the immediate post-accident response.
Prior to the accident occurring, the employer should be prepared with all the appropriate forms. In addition to the First Report of Injury form used in your state, the employer should have the following documents.
- An employee brochure “What to Do If You Are Injured on the Job”
- Employee Report of Accident
- Supervisor Report of Accident
- Witness Report Form
- Work Ability Form
- Transitional Assignment Form
Each of these forms will assist in gathering the necessary information for the claims adjuster to make the appropriate determination of the compensability of the claim, and for the employee supervisor or workers comp coordinator to arrange for the employee to return to work.
When an accident does happen, the supervisor should not look around to see which other employee can drive the injured employee to the doctor. The supervisor should accompany the employee to the pre-selected medical provider. The supervisor should then provide the employee with the Work Ability Form to give to the doctor. The Work Ability Form provides the format for the doctor to convey the employee’s work restrictions.
The employee returns the Work Ability Form to the supervisor. The supervisor reviews the Work Ability Form to see if the employee can return to her/his regular job and it allows the supervisor to comply with any work restrictions the medical provider has given to the injured employee. This ensures the employer understands the job restrictions and allows the employer to arrange for the appropriate transitional duty job.
In the case of a severe injury where the employee cannot return to work on a modified duty job, the Work Ability Form should be faxed to the workers compensation coordinator. The workers comp coordinator can review the injury restrictions with the nurse case manager to learn the approximate length of time the injured employee will be totally unable to perform work. It will allow the workers comp coordinator to know about when to expect the injured employee to be able to start a transitional duty job.
If the injured employee is unable to return to work either full duty or in a transitional duty job, the supervisor or the workers comp coordinator should keep in touch with the employee. This will allow you to know the medical progress the employee is making, it will keep the employee feeling connected to the company, and it will allow for the proper transition to a modified duty job. (WCxKit)
This has been a very brief overview of proper post-accident response. To obtain the appropriate forms for a post-accident response, please contact us. You can learn more about the proper post-injury response procedure in our new 2012 edition of Manage Your Workers Compensation Program, Reduce Cost 20-50%.
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. She is the author of the #1 selling book on cost containment, Manage Your Workers Compensation: Reduce Costs 20-50% www.WCManual.com. Contact: RShafer@ReduceYourWorkersComp.com.
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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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