Reporting workers compensation claims in a timely manner is important. While late reporting of workers compensation claims by the employer does not affect the employee's benefits, it often causes issues with claims handling process and usually increases the cost to the employer.
Following are a few of the dangers of reporting workers compensation claims too slowly:
1. It jeopardizes investigation of workers compensation claims
As time goes on, it will be harder for your insurance carrier to conduct an investigation to gather information to determine the cause and extent of the injury. If there is anything about the claim that you wish to dispute, it is more difficult without this early evidence.
2. It can increase the cost of the claim
The cost of the claim gets higher and higher for each day it is not reported. According to a study by the Hartford Financial Service Group, claims reported 7-14 days after the injury cost 18% more than those filed within a week of the injury. Wait 15-28 days and the costs jump 30%.
3. It hurts employee morale
When an injury claim is not reported in a timely manner to the carrier for proper handling, how does your employee feel when they realize their claim has not been reported yet? They may feel neglected or that they are not a valued employee because their injury seems to not be important to you.
Reporting workers compensation claims late can result in a disgruntled employee, who now has no motivation to return to work [which means the claim costs will likely increase even more].
4. Potential for litigation increases
The longer a claim drags on, the higher the potential for litigation. The employee may seek additional medical opinions or treatment, or begin to wonder if the employer is retaliating against them for their injury. Swift resolution of the claim is best for all parties involved.
5. Reporting workers compensation claims too late may violate state law
Each state regulates workers compensation claim reporting. In Wisconsin, for example, companies are required to report injuries to the state with 7 days of being informed by their employee. Check with your state for specific requirements.
When to report a claim
To minimize your workers compensation claim exposure, make sure to report your claims directly to the insurance carrier immediately. Stay proactively involved with your claim adjusters and your employee. Have a plan in place to accommodate light duty restrictions.
If you’re unsure the injured worker will need medical attention, complete a 1st report of injury and submit it to the carrier as “notice only.”
In the end, you will save money by reporting workers compensation claims immediately and will reduce the potential for litigation.