If a face can launch a thousand ships and a picture is worth a thousand words, can a phone call save a thousand dollars?

A workers compensation adjuster will likely tell you: YES.

In today’s world of smart phones and computers, we communicate dozens of times a day. Some of the most common methods of communication are email, text, Skype, FaceTime or Snapchat. With so many options to choose from, why would an employer want to actually have a person-to-person phone call with an injured worker?

A workers compensation adjuster will likely tell you: because it can save the employer money!  These other methods are too informal and can easily be misinterpreted, but a good old-fashioned phone call can be the best way to minimize the monetary effects of the claim – and all it costs is a little bit of your time.

PhonePut yourself in the shoes of an injured worker. The worker is not only dealing with pain from the injury, but more importantly, he or she is worried about the future. How will the worker pay for living expenses if he or she cannot work? Who is going to pay for the medical bills related to the injury? How long will he or she be unable to work? What happens if someone new is hired to replace the injured worker? What if there is no job to return to when he or she recovers? What if the injury leaves the worker with restrictions that will not allow him or her to return to doing the same type of work in the future?

The claims adjuster can answer a lot of these questions for the injured worker. If done well, the adjuster can put the injured worker’s mind at ease.

When an injured worker doesn’t have to worry about the financial aspects that accompany the injury, the worker can concentrate on following the doctor’s recommendations for a quicker recovery. But is this enough? Will the adjuster’s answers alleviate the worker’s concerns and mitigate the costs associated with an injury?

A workers compensation adjuster will likely tell you: maybe, but probably not. So what else can be done?

As an employer, make a phone call and keep in touch with the worker. Ask an adjuster how many times an injured worker complains that the employer never called to see how the worker is doing. Or maybe the employer called soon after the injury, but nothing since.

The injured worker may hear from coworkers that someone new has been hired to replace the worker which may set off anxiety about the worker’s financial future again. If the worker will be off for an extended period of time and never hears from the employer, the worker gets the impression that the employer does not care about him or her. All these worries tend to lengthen recovery time. On the other hand, if an employer keeps in regular contact with the injured worker, the worker feels valued and is motivated to work harder at getting better in order to return to work as soon as possible.

Yes, there are times when the injured worker will not be able to return to the employer or to similar work because of medical restrictions. This can be very scary and can send that worker to an attorney. If dealt with appropriately by an honest and timely phone call, we may be able to avoid expensive litigation and find a way to resolve the problem that will work for everyone.

Most workers compensation adjusters will likely agree that when there is a good relationship between the employer and the injured worker, the claim cost is significantly less than when the relationship is strained. What better way to keep up a good employment relationship and save money, than by making a phone call?

-Kathy Mentink