Workers’ Comp Case: How To Win
In workers’ compensation cases, both business owners and employees need to know what’s expected of them. Especially when an employee is injured or becomes ill and needs medical treatment. Workers’ compensation benefits vary depending on your state and the nature of both the injury and your industry.
Both business owners and employees need to understand how to file a workers’ compensation claim. Therefore, it’s important to keep in mind what’s required to file a claim. If you don’t follow certain steps, some insurance carriers or companies may not provide any workers’ comp benefits.
On the flip side, if business owners are not compliant with workers’ comp standards of their state, they’ll face heavy fines. They may also face other unpleasant penalties as a result of the claim.
To avoid the headache, take the steps necessary for you, your business and your employees to remain compliant. Staying compliant provides protection and ensures safety for all parties.
How to Minimize Workers’ Comp Risk for Your Business
Whether you’re a small business owner or heading a large company, learning how to follow workers’ comp laws in your state is a must. Accidents happen, but minimizing the risk for your business is the first step in creating a solid foundation for you and your employees. In the event an employee is injured on the job, the first concern must always be the employee. Depending on the nature of your business, some industries are at a higher risk for personal injury than others. For instance, a law firm may not have as much risk as a construction company.
In fact, many people assume that workplace accidents happen the most in construction and manufacturing. While construction is on the list for top 10 costliest industries for workers’ compensation, you may be surprised to note that other industries contribute to higher claims. Here are some of the jobs that have the most accidents:1
- Laborers (non-construction)
- Truck drivers
- Nursing assistants
- General maintenance and repair workers
- Retail Salespersons
It’s a common misconception that only certain industries deal with workers’ comp cases. This may lead to businesses not paying as much attention to workers’ comp laws or compliance. In reality, the head of a tech company should be working to minimize risk for their business just as much as the foreman at a construction company. No matter the industry, the end-result is always the same – a loss.
According to a five-year analysis of The Hartford’s claims data, there’s a 50% chance that a business will experience a workers’ comp claim in the next 10 years. And yet, only 29% of small business owners are concerned about an employee suffering a work-related injury or illness.2
When considering workers’ compensation you should keep in mind that it offers disability benefits. For instance, say an employee gets permanently disabled on the job. Your workers’ comp policy will help pay for the disability costs. Without this coverage, these costs may fall on you.
Staying in Compliance with Workers’ Comp Laws
Although advanced safety methods have reduced workers’ comp claims, they’re still filed each year. By staying ahead of work-related injuries or accidents, business owners and employees will benefit. Doing this will allow you to avoid financial suffering.
To stay in compliance with workers’ comp laws, there are a few things that you should ensure your business is doing to prevent a workers’ comp case such as:
- Develop a risk management plan. This can help you identify the immediate dangers that may be present at the workplace. This, in turn, helps decrease the risk of potential losses, especially when it comes to workers’ compensation claims. The result of a risk management plan will help guide policies and training that will help keep workers safe. This means it’s important to hold regular trainings with employees to keep everyone safe and updated when it comes to safety procedures.
- Ensuring proper applicants and consideration of a drug policy. As a business owner, hiring the right applicant is one of the most important decisions you’ll make when it comes to the future of your business. They represent you, your company and the product or work you produce. Make sure to vet each employee and consider a drug policy. The influence of drugs and alcohol increases the risk of workplace injury and illness. This means having a policy in place before you start hiring is a step in the right direction.
- Training. Training is extremely important when it comes to avoiding workers’ comp claims. Working from a consistently updated training manual is also important. This manual will provide employees with strict guidelines of the dos and don’ts. It will also outline expectations for behavior at your company. This is how you educate your workers. Develop a manual and ensure your office or job site complies.
- Employee rights. Avoid a workers’ comp case by being proactive and offering your employees a comfortable work environment. Provide frequent breaks for your employees and avoid overtime. You want to try to make your work site as ergonomically friendly as possible.
If an employee is in an accident, there’s a lot you need to do. First, you need to seek medical treatment for your employee as fast as possible. This helps ensure they get the treatment they need while also reducing their pain and suffering overall.
It’s also important that you, your business and other fellow employees are following the guidelines in your risk management plan. These guidelines include:
- Respond immediately. When there is a workplace accident, you must respond immediately. Reference your risk management plan, get other workers to a safe place, assess the injury and assist injured workers in any way you can.
- Document. After providing care and attention to the injured party, it’s important to document exactly what happened. This can include taking pictures and gathering evidence. Depending on your state, other forms may need to be filed in the event of a workers’ compensation claim. No matter what, get a statement from the employee that was injured, too. This needs to include information about the injury, exactly how it happened, the location and any other witnesses to the incident. Make sure the worker writes it down in their own way and that it is signed and dated.
- Communicate. Check in on your injured employee and see how they are doing. Provide support for them and ask about their progress. Treating your injured worker with the respect they deserve is of the upmost importance. Work with your employee to file a workers’ comp claim with the company’s insurance provider.
- In the event of a lawsuit, don’t panic. Keep communication open. Make sure you share all relevant information with your insurance company. Try to avoid long, drawn out litigation. Settling a claim early can prevent costly lawsuits. Make sure you and your employee can discuss the incident and address any thoughts or concerns whenever possible.
More About Workers’ Compensation Compliance
When it comes to workers’ comp cases and claims, things can get a little tricky. Having a knowledgeable insurance company on your side can help you avoid costly lawsuits and loss in revenue.
Once you’ve filed a workers’ compensation claim, you can request a worker’s medical records. This is an important step to ensuring that your employees receive the treatment they need.
Whether you are an employee that was injured on the job or a business owner that is trying to navigate a workers’ comp case, The Hartford is here to help.
As an insurance company with more than 200 years of experience, it’s safe to say we’re familiar with workman’s compensation laws in each state. We can help guide you through the process of an employee injury. We can also help answer any other questions you may have.
In the event of a lawsuit, we’ll be sure to provide the support and knowledge you need. Let The Hartford handle your workers’ comp case. Get a quote today or contact us.