Claim Reporting Basics, Part 4- Rules of Claim Reporting
An employee might report an injury to you, and your response is to tell him to walk it off and get back to work — it’s just a little strain.
But, you know what? The degree of the injury is not up to you to decide. Or maybe an employee tells you that he’s hurt, but it’s no big deal. He’s just going to rest a while and get back at it. In this case, the thing to remember is – it’s not exactly up to him or you, to decide the degree of an injury either meaning you have to protect yourself in medical terms.
How do you protect yourself? File a claim immediately even if marked as “IRO” (Incident Report Only), no matter how benign you or your employee think the injury may be. If you do so, your employee will see a doctor right away and the doctor can determine at that visit whether the employee has a “medically supported” reason that can lead to a costly a claim or whether it is as minor as you and they believe it to be. Is it trouble to take this level of action…yes. Is it costly to not take it so later it becomes a major lost time claim….yes.
If you wait for your employee to decide that the injury is severe months down the line, the conditions always change. Maybe the facts of the injury have become vague or there’s a new injury. Maybe the employee weaned himself off a drug that created dangerous working conditions since the injury. You want a doctor’s report when the employee is under the same conditions as when the injury occurred.
If you let injuries go, some will work out just fine. But others will balloon out of control and end up blowing up in your face. A small claim could become a major one. An inexpensive injury could become a costly one. Make sure that you are the one in control by taking quick action. It will also send the right message to other employees and protect you in the long run.
An Important Notice to All Employees
So far in this series, we’ve discussed what a workplace injury is, what needs to be done when a workplace injury occurs (report it), how soon a workplace injury needs to be reported (right away), and what can happen if injuries are not reported in a timely manner (bad things, very bad things).
For this final installment, we thought we’d provide you a sample notice you can present to your employees that will make all of this as clear to them as we’ve made it for you.
It probably goes without saying, but we’ll say it anyway: this is only a guide and should be modified to fit your own personal work situation. But still, it’s a good guide.
WHAT IS AN INJURY?
As long as you work with or for this employer, the definition of an injury will be viewed as follows:
An injury will be seen as ACTIONABLE FOR REPORTING IMMEDIATELY WITHOUT DELAY to management whenever you, a fellow worker, a supervisor, a management staff employee, or a subcontractor on or on behalf of our work site(s) conveys to any other living being within our organization any of the following:
1. Words are expressed directly about being injured; or
2. Words are used to hint at being injured; or
3. Words are said indirectly to another about being injured; or
4. Words are said in a joking or humorous manner about being injured; or
5. Being injured is merely intimated or alluded to in vague terms; or
6. It is rumored that an injury has occurred to someone known on our premises.
You have a duty to put this information or knowledge of this information on the record by reporting it to your supervisor. You DO NOT have a right to decide if or when the information of an injury to you or a fellow employee should be on the record.
It is understood that failing to adhere to this policy will find you negligent in your duty and your responsibility to report the injury making you subject to company disciplinary action up to and including an indefinite suspension without pay.
We hope this 4 part series on claim reporting has been helpful. If you have further questions or any concerns you’d like to discuss, please contact Steve Petty, our Sr. Risk Manager.
-Steve Petty, Director of Risk Management
|Steve Petty joined the Insured Solutions team as Director of Risk Management in 2010. The lessons he has learned from thirty-five years in risk management formed a foundation for what is today a unique Workers’ Compensation program, generating exemplary results for employers.|
Contact Steve at firstname.lastname@example.org, (229) 207-0664.