The Importance of Early Claims Reporting
Written By: Karl Schramm

Claims Reporting: A Hypothetical Issue

One of your kitchen employees accidently cuts their finger. The employee says they are fine and they are going home to rest. They are off for the week and then seek medical treatment. The employee is diagnosed with a torn tendon and taken off of work by the doctor.  

The employee asks about collecting workers compensation payments for being off of work.  At this point, it’s already been over a week and the employee is upset that payments may be delayed. The employee talks about getting an attorney.  

This hypothetical situation happens in reality. That’s why it’s of utmost importance that employers file a claim immediately after an injury.  This helps get the claim process started and helps mitigate the potential costs of the claim.  

Why You Should Encourage Employees to Report Injuries Early

Simply put, the sooner a claim is received, the sooner it can be processed, managed and brought to a resolution.  It’s also of utmost importance to carefully document the events that lead to the claim while memories are fresh, rather than having to rehash it later on once details are long forgotten or evidence is harder to verify. Delayed injury reporting more often than not results in more time wasted, stress accrued, and money spent on remedying the situation.

Your business should create a culture of safety that understands that employee health & wellness is valued.  When employees feel comfortable and safe reporting their injuries, it saves you, the employer, time and money by being able to report the claim early. If an employee waits, their injury can get worse, and they may hide it until they can’t any longer.  Train all employees on health and safety best-practices to prevent accidents in the first place.

Reporting Claims Early Mitigates Legal Risks

Early reporting ensures that important evidence is obtained or documented right away when still available.  If litigation ensues, having this documentation will be important for verifying claims and protecting your business. When employers don’t take action promptly to assist their employees, the employees might seek legal recourse through an attorney.  This can lead to costly legal expenses and prolonged claims resolutions.  The average general liability claim will take 58% longer to resolve and the average workers compensation claim 127% longer to resolve with attorney representation.  

Reporting Claims Early can Reduce Regulatory Penalties

OSHA reporting guidelines must be followed after injuries—even ones you might think are small or negligible. Failing to do so can result in additional fines and penalties, adding insult to injury. Repeated accidents can lead to serious operational challenges and being permanently shut down, so be sure to perform regular safety audits.  Certain states have penalties for late reporting of workers compensation claims, so contact your adjuster to determine what those parameters are.  

How to Develop Timely Claims Reporting Procedures for Your Business

All managers and staff should know who to report a claim too and what information is needed to report a claim.  Below is a checklist that should be followed to help report a claim timely and give the necessary information to your adjuster.  

  • Evidence gathering + reporting checklist to be completed in first 24 hours
  • Notification hierarchy for managers/owners/supervisors
  • Claim submission and verification
  • OSHA reporting guidelines

Society Insurance Helps Protect Your Business and Reputation

Slips and falls make up over 15% of all work related injuries and there are a total of 8.9 million visits to the emergency room from them each year.  These injuries can end up being costly and can overall hurt the reputation of your business.  Society Insurance’s workers compensation insurance can protect your business, reputation, and livelihood.  

To learn more about how Society can help your business, contact your local independent insurance agent.  

Additional Reading:

Author

Karl has a bachelor’s degree in insurance from Illinois State University. He began his career in risk control with Society Insurance in 2020. Previously, he was a workers compensation claimsadjuster for five years. Karl has earned his AIC designation.

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