As an employer, you do all you can to keep your employees safe while on the job. However, accidents can happen from time to time. When they do and your employee decides their injuries are serious enough to have them filing for workers’ compensation, your life as an employer can quickly get far more difficult than you anticipated. If you have never had to deal with a prior workers’ comp claim, here is what you should expect as an employer.
Complete an Accurate Report
First, you should always complete a very accurate accident report as soon as you can once you are notified of the employee’s injury. This can be critical, especially if there are conflicting accounts of the accident and questions about the seriousness of the employee’s injuries. By having an accurate report, you will be putting your company in a much more favorable position.
Attorneys Will be Calling
It’s likely that employees will hire a workers’ compensation lawyer. You can expect attorneys to be contacting you to get additional details about what transpired. When they do, always be forthcoming and cooperative as much as possible. If you are combative and refuse to discuss the accident, it could appear as if you are hiding something or lying.
Following a workplace accident and an employee filing for workers’ comp, begin gathering all relevant documentation about the case. This should include the employee’s job description, witness statements, photographs of the accident scene, and performance evaluations of the employee. Should your employee have been given any prior disciplinary warnings leading up to the accident, include these as well, since they could indicate the employee acted recklessly and was at fault for the accident.
A Long Process
Finally, don’t expect your employee’s workers’ comp case to disappear after only a few days. In many cases, a workers’ comp claim may drag on for several months, especially if there are any appeals along the way. While your employee may appeal if their claim is initially denied, remember that you as the employer also have the right to appeal any decisions that are handed down.
Since workers’ comp claims are some of the most complex from a legal standpoint, it is vital to understand what to expect, how to handle certain situations, and how long the process is likely to take before being resolved. By using common sense and excellent judgment from day one, the process will be much smoother for everyone.
Author information: Anica Oaks is a professional content and copywriter who graduated from the University of San Francisco. She loves dogs, the ocean, and anything outdoor-related. She was raised in a big family, so she’s used to putting things to a vote. Also, cartwheels are her specialty.