How To Avoid Work Comp Litigation

Hello, Michael Stack here with Amaxx. So, we are now past Thanksgiving and we are getting knee deep into the holiday season.  It’s a fun and exciting time of year, but there is also a lot to do.  You’ve got to get your shopping done, you have to get the decorations up, you’ve got to get the house cleaned up before the guest come over.  All kinds of things we do, all kinds of hoopla in this season, in ultimately the reason why is to spend that quality time with your friends and your family.  There is nothing like that face-face time to appreciate and deepen those relationships.  So, how does that apply to our work comp program?



WCRI Study – Avoid Litigation


WCRI did a study back in 2014, and it was all about avoiding litigation. It studied the factors that went into why employees will hire an attorney.  And there were three main findings:


  • The first one was a fear of getting fired, they were concerned about being fired just because they were injured on the job.
  • The second one was they thought that their supervisor thought that they were faking it, they thought their supervisor thought it was an illegitimate injury.
  • And number 3 was claim denial, either the claim was actually denied, or their perception was that the claim was denied, even though it was accepted.



Poor Communication Main Factor In Litigation


Here is what stood out to me the most about each of these factors.  Each of these factors is due to poor communication. And the number that stood out the most was in this fired number.


  • Of all the injured workers that they surveyed, 33% responded that they had a fear of being fired. I’m going to say that one more time, of all the employees that were surveyed, 33% responded that they had a fear of being fired just because they were injured on the job. An extremely huge red flag about poor communication with these employees.
  • The rest of that study just to round that out, was that 48% of employees that actually hired an attorney responded that they had that fear.



Face-Face Weekly Meetings


So, how do we improve upon this, how do we improve upon these number, how do we improve upon this lack of communication? We talked about the importance and the value of those face-face connections this holiday season.  That same theory applies with your injured workers, with your employees.  Having face-face weekly meetings with employees that are injured is an extremely powerful and valuable technique to really make those connections to communicate, to be able to eliminate these fears of being fired, be able to increase your communication and understanding of what’s going on with this claim. If you have some medical information that is really the reason why the claim is denied, you can really make that connection.



Demonstrate Care

So, here is what you are going to be talking about in these meetings.  You are going to be demonstrating care, you are going to be demonstrating care just by having the meeting at your job site.  If the employee is continuing to show up at the job site, their fear of being fired should virtually go away.



Medical Information

You are also going to be getting medical information, you are going to be talking with them about how the medical is going, how the PT is going, maybe how their relationship with their nurse case manager is going.  You are getting that medical information to make sure that injury is continuing to heal, progress, and recover.



Transitional Duty

The next thing you are going to be talking about is their transitional duty job, how is that continuing to improve.  You want to make sure that job is progressive.  Based on this medical, if they can only start out with at 10 lb weight limitation, maybe the medical is improving, you increase that to 15, you increase it to 20, you increase it to 30 lbs, so that transitional duty job continues to progress.



Employee Attitude

And the final thing you are going to be reviewing in these meetings is the attitude of the employee.  Are they cooperative, are they combative, is there frustration, is there fear, is there anger, or are they happy with how things are going.



Hugely valuable time to make that face-face connection, to deepen those relationships, to eliminate these factors that go into why an employee would hire an attorney.  Remember, in workers’ comp, your success is based on your integrity.  Be great!



Author Michael Stack, Principal, COMPClub, Amaxx LLC. He is an expert in workers compensation cost containment systems and helps employers reduce their work comp costs by 20% to 50%.  He works as a consultant to large and mid-market clients, is co-author of Your Ultimate Guide To Mastering Workers Comp Costs, a comprehensive step-by-step manual of cost containment strategies based on hands-on field experience, and is founder of COMPClub, an exclusive member training program on workers compensation cost containment best practices. Through these platforms he is in the trenches on a working together with clients to implement and define best practices, which allows him to continuously be at the forefront of innovation and thought leadership in workers’ compensation cost containment. Contact:



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