Workers Comp Blog

How you the Employer can contribute to California Workers Compensation Claims

A California workers compensation claim can seem overwhelming, especially if you have not been through the process before. During these times, it can be tough to determine what your role as the employer is. How involved do you become in this process to ensure everything is being taken care of properly and in the best interest of your employee and your business? Employers play a key role in the claim process but may not be sure where to start. To help reduce the cost and severity of the claim as well as your workers comp insurance premium, you should be involved in all stages of a California workers comp claim procedure. Let’s take a look at these stages and how an employer should contribute to each stage of a claim.

Pre-Injury

The employer’s role actually begins before an injury even occurs. To prepare in the event of an injury, as the employer, you should:
Implement a strong safety program

  • Post all mandatory notices about workers comp laws in a visible location for all employees
  • Inform new workers of the standard procedures in the event of an injury
  • Train supervisors on how best to report and be involved in claims
  • Have a medical provider network through your insurance carrier
  • Have a written policy for transitional duties and return-to-work programs for injured workers

With these steps, you can impact the costs and outcomes of the California workers compensation claims and be ready when the inevitable accident does ensue.

The Injury

Once the injury does occur, be sure to:

  • Provide immediate medical assistance to any injured workers including workers with minor or soft tissue injuries. If they wait to see a doctor, it could result in higher costs down the road.
  • Set a goal to get workers back on the job within the first few days after the injury (if possible)
  • Let the doctor know of any job modifications or momentary/alternate positions to cater to the injured employee while he or she recovers.

It is impossible to completely avoid work injuries but by responding swiftly and following the aforementioned steps preceding its occurrence, you can make a difference to the overall claim.

The Claim

Many employers may take a step back in this stage when, in fact, they should remain diligent. Make sure to:

  • Report the claim to your insurance broker or carrier as soon as possible
  • Provide the claims adjustor with vital information like, for example, the worker’s wages and your workers comp claim history.
  • Fill out all required paperwork by their respective due dates, such as the Employer’s Report of Injury form
  • Keep in touch with the injured employee to show your interest in their recovery
  • Note any temporary jobs that the injured worker can perform while recovering with a doctor’s approval
  • Analyze and monitor claim-related documents filed by your adjustor and by the Workers Comp Board. Be aware of time limits for decisions that are being negotiated
  • Contact your claims adjustor right away if you are contacted by an attorney that represents your injured employee

It is important to remain a presence in this process to be sure all the requirements for the claim are met and that the claim process is progressing smoothly.

Payment

Usually the claims adjustor negotiates payment, however sometimes the employer must get involved with this part of the process such as:

  • Assessing permanent work restrictions to determine if the worker’s return to their position or another position is possible (which can dictate benefits and settlement amounts/methods)
  • Attending settlement conferences
  • Being a part of depositions and hearings

By taking part in the payment process of the claim, you can start the transition for your employee and your business to the normal working conditions, taking what you have learned or gained from the claims experience and applying it to your safety programs in the future.

By contributing to every stage of a California workers comp claim process, employers can reduce claim costs and reduce the severity of the claim’s outcome as well as their workers comp premium costs.  Remaining involved and informed through the entire procedure can make the difference between a small claim and big loss.  To learn more about how you can be proactive and ensure safety for your workers and for your business as a whole feel free to contact a Commercial Insurance Broker today!