Your correspondent has decades of experience with comp claims and, therefore, decades of contact with angry dissatisfied people – mostly employers and employees. Complaining seems to be their first choice, but this is not effective. Participation, even when uninvited, is a far better alternative.
Facts Are The Most Valuable Contribution An Employer Can Make
What is the most valuable contribution an employer can make to a claim? Facts. All claims are supposed to be based on a collection of facts, starting with descriptions by the parties – employer and employee. But the initial set of facts comes from the first report forms and, in most claims, ends there. But complicated, serious or contested claims will need a lot more than the initial report.
Employers usually feel that if more than an initial report is required someone will call and ask. That, however, is an act of faith, not participation. Getting a late start on information is a leading cause of lost opportunity – especially for employers. It is far better for the employer to contribute more information to the carrier in addition to the first report of injury.
See Attached Is Most Important Thing You Will Write On First Report
A first report calls for one sentence descriptions of the accident – hardly enough for the important claims. Therefore, a one page narrative is to be preferred. “See attached” is the most important thing you will ever write on a first report.
Another attachment should be a list of all other claims made by the worker. In addition to claiming an accident, did the worker apply for unemployment? Disability insurance? Retirement? Discrimination? These can be very important, even when they preceded the accident report by weeks or months. Unreported claims for unemployment which precede the accident report are especially critical, and often unknown to the carrier, TPA and Board.
Has The Worker Had A History of Poor Attendance?
Has the worker had a history of poor attendance prior to the claim? That is very important to know, especially on contested claims. If attendance problems exist – document them. And send to the carrier with the first report.
Did the worker have more than one job? You may have an apportionment opportunity. But only if you document and attach. Name address and phone number of employer, please. Also wages and hours, if known.
Medical and disability problems? These are always relevant but you are better off first calling for a private off-the-record talk with the carrier about these. The same goes for marital, financial and legal difficulties – which are often the motivations for an exaggerated claim.
Do you have documents? Especially prior decisions by government agencies. Unemployment claims which have been decided in the employer’s favor often precede dubious comp clams but are unknown to the carrier and the Board in the majority of cases. Your defense will be far more effective if a copy of that unemployment decision reaches the carrier as soon as possible, preferable with the first report.
Any Lawyer Can Make Controversy Out of Silence
Any lawyer can make a controversy out of silence. Useful communication now will eliminate the need for complaints later.
Author: Attorney Theodore Ronca is a practicing lawyer from Aquebogue, NY. He is a frequent writer and speaker, and has represented employers in the areas of workers’ compensation, Social Security disability, employee disability plans and subrogation for over 30 years. Attorney Ronca can be reached at 631-722-2100. firstname.lastname@example.org
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