Workers’ compensation insurance is state-mandated, covering the vast majority of American employees. While each state has its own designated time limit for reporting workers’ comp claims (some of which extend all the way to two years), it’s important to file claims as soon as possible for several reasons.
It Allows for a More Thorough Investigation
The more time that passes after the accident, the more difficult it becomes for an insurance carrier to investigate it. Being swift means that key pieces of evidence are better preserved, and a claim adjustor can look into the extent of the accident in more detail.
This is important if you believe that there is anything to dispute. A claim adjustor will also be in a better position to spot any red flags that could indicate fraud or unethical behavior.
A prompt report means that an employee’s injury can be treated more quickly and they can start the road to recovery. In turn, they should be able to return to sooner than they would if you waited.
This tends to be especially critical for small businesses with a limited number of workers. Getting a key employee back to work in a timely manner can have a significant impact on productivity and profitability.
Delays Can Worsen an Employee’s Condition
If you wait too long, there’s always the chance that an employee’s condition will worsen and become more serious. Whiplash is a good example. In this type of situation, you’re basically gambling with your employee’s health, which can have some obvious negative repercussions.
Delays Can Hurt Morale
Failing to report workers’ comp claims can also send the message to your workforce that you’re not truly invested in their health and wellbeing. If a co-worker is injured on the job and you’re lackadaisical about handling it, your entire workforce may feel neglected and undervalued.
This can inevitably lead to friction and conflicts that can hurt your company culture. On the macro level, this can even dilute your brand reputation if your workers become disgruntled and vent their frustration to external sources like publications.
You also need to remember that there are time limits imposed by each state. While it’s true that some states give employers up to two years to report an injury, this isn’t the case across the board. For instance, Wisconsin requires employers to report a claim within just seven days.
Wait too long, and you may end up violating state law. If you’re unsure, find out your state’s reporting policies to avoid unnecessary headaches and complications.
Time is of the essence when reporting workers’ comp claims. Promptness is considered best practice. Ideally, report a claim to your insurance carrier immediately and stay in close contact with the claim adjustor throughout the process. Not only is this beneficial for the employee who is affected, it should also have some positive benefits for your company.