Why should companies report workers’ comp claims immediately?
While everyone hopes it never happens, workplace injuries are a reality that many businesses face. Industries like construction and manufacturing face a higher risk of injuries and illnesses.
Regardless of which industry your business is in, you’ll want to immediately report workers’ comp claims if workplace injuries occur. This will allow your injured employee to receive benefits sooner and prevent your small business from incurring fees or penalties associated with late reporting.
Even though many organizations see reporting claims as a way to protect the business, the truth is there are several benefits to prompt reporting. Let’s look at a few benefits and see how they affect your small business.
How can quick reporting benefit your company and injured workers?
Truthfully, most small business owners would like to avoid workers’ compensation claims altogether. However, for companies that operate in a high-risk environment, accidents are unavoidable, which is why having an efficient injury-reporting process is crucial.
By reporting workplace injuries quickly, your company can benefit in several ways. A few of these advantages include:
- Allowing for an in-depth accident investigation
- Reducing workers’ comp claim costs
- Avoiding penalties and fees for late filing
Allowing for an in-depth accident investigation
One of the added benefits of quickly reporting claims for a workplace injury is that it allows the investigation to start as soon as possible. The sooner you can have your insurance carrier look into the accident, the easier it will be for a claim adjuster to preserve key pieces of evidence.
While it’s hard to imagine someone would try to fake being injured, it does happen. In fact, it’s estimated that there is more than $9 billion in benefits fraudulently paid out to workers for an injury they really don’t have.
The last thing you want to happen is to provide benefits to a worker who wasn’t actually injured. The good news is that with an early and thorough investigation, the employees who really need workers’ compensation benefits will get them.
Reducing the cost of the workers’ comp claim
Early reporting isn’t just about the investigation; it can also reduce the workers’ compensation claim cost. If an employee is genuinely injured, allowing them to continue to work without the proper medical treatment can result in the injury getting worse or another injury occurring as a result of the first one.
Avoiding penalties and fees for late filing
Every small business is required to report injuries, illnesses, and deaths that happen in the workplace to OSHA and their respective state’s workers’ comp division. If a company fails to report the workplace accident within its state’s allotted timeline, it could face significant penalties. In some instances, late reporting could result in thousands of dollars in fees.
Having an injury-reporting process in place will help keep your company within the claims reporting window and avoid fines for late filing.
How does reporting workers' comp claims late affect employee morale?
Companies that don’t take workers’ comp claims seriously or are late to file claims may notice employee morale start to sink significantly. Delayed reporting of an injury in the workplace often sends a message to other workers that you’re not concerned about their health and may not truly appreciate their work in your organization.
Late filing can also affect the morale of the injured employee. Since there was no urgency to file their workers’ comp claim, they may feel there is no urgency to return to work.
This tension can eventually lead to a disgruntled workforce and a culture where employees only do the bare minimum to keep their positions with the company.
Remember, every situation is different and state workers’ compensation laws are subject to change, so be sure to do your research and speak with a trusted advisor.
Thanks for reading! Please note that this content is intended for educational purposes only. As laws change regularly, you should refer to your state legislation and/or an advisor for specific legal counsel. If you’re a small business owner, learn more about workers’ compensation insurance or check your current rate in 3 minutes.