Although many work-related injuries can be prevented through knowledge and awareness, the reality is that accidents happen at the workplace. Whether it’s a slip, a lesion or a stress-related injury, workers need medical care when they’re injured. Workers’ Compensation policies are held by businesses for just this reason. When an accident or injury takes place, it’s imperative that both the injured employee and the employer are well-protected.
Unfortunately, it’s not as simple as having adequate workers’ compensation coverage. Many work-related injuries take place in situations where good coverage is active, yet the injured employee ends up in a long and stressful battle with the insurance company. In some of these cases, the worker is saddled with expensive out-of-pocket medical bills to pay for the necessary treatment.
Why does this happen?
In the overwhelming majority of cases, it happens because the correct protocols were not followed by the employee and/or employer. In other words, the worker’s compensation claim was not handled correctly at the outset, leading to bigger problems down the line. There are a few important ways to ensure that this does not happen to you or your employees.
1. Learn about your worker’s compensation policies in advance
Whether you’re an employer or an employee, the best measure you can take is knowing how the company’s worker’s compensation policy works. Many injured workers seek treatment with only a vague understanding that their medical bills will be paid, not realizing that specific procedures must be followed in order for a claim to be valid. Employers should make sure every employee understands the policy. Likewise, employees should understand in advance what they need to do in case of injury. The correct course of action will vary according to the specific policy—hence the important of education.
2. Report the injury to your employer (in writing) as soon as possible
The first order of business after sustaining an injury is certainly not filling out paperwork. Injured workers need treatment first and foremost. The biggest mistake injured workers make, however, is not reporting the injury to their employer soon enough. The urgent care clinic, ER or other medical facility in which an injured worker receives treatment is generally not responsible for reporting work-related injuries to the employer; that responsibility lies with the injured worker. A claim that is backed by a timely, written notification to the employer is unlikely to meet with problems.
3. See your treatment through!
One thing about worker’s comp claims: It’s extremely important to follow the doctor’s treatment plan. Insurance companies monitor this, and may deny payment if the injured worker fails to follow the doctor’s orders. Appointments, therapies and treatments should be attended and followed without fail in order to keep the claim valid.
Follow these three steps to make sure you claim is handled correctly!
The good news for injured workers is that most claims are handled correctly and accurately, so long as the correct procedure is followed. Some urgent care clinics specialize in worker’s comp claims, and can be of assistance in making sure protocols are followed. No matter where they receive treatment, injured workers should always be vigilant and make sure their claim is honored by knowing ahead of time what to do in case of injury.