Avoid common mistakes when reporting work injuries

By Kimberly Daise
Fast, accurate injury reporting can reduce frustration for everyone involved.
Sometimes it can even reduce costs by preventing:
 State penalties
 Litigation
 Delayed return-to-work
 Low employee morale
 Unnecessary medical costs
 Excessive Investigation time and delays
The following are some of the most common reporting mistakes and ways you can easily avoid them:
 Not indicating that an employee is missing work due to a work injury.
As soon as your employee begins losing time from work due to the injury, let your carrier know, so the employee receives wage-replacement benefits on time. Failing to do this can lead to state penalties for the employer and financial hardship for the injured employee.
 Reporting late.
As soon as any supervisor, manager, or claims agent becomes aware of an injury, the clock starts ticking toward your state’s deadline to determine whether the employee is entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. Missing the deadline can result in significant state penalties for the employer. Reporting right away gives your carriers’ representative enough time to investigate the injury before the deadline. May carriers have online portals for reporting an injury. Find out what the URL is and use it.
 Incomplete forms.
If you choose to report your claim by filling out an online form, leaving off important information can delay the processing of a claim. Especially important details include: date of injury, date of the first day of lost time, date employer was notified about injury, contact information, provider information, wage information, and any medical service provider information if available.
 Communications breakdowns.
Make sure employees understand the process for reporting a work injury at your organization. Delays in reporting injuries sometimes occur because employees simply don’t know who to tell if they are injured.
 Not reporting questionable claims.
Sometimes employers don’t report an injury because they think it is suspicious, or not serious enough to report. This is a violation of state laws and/or some carrier coverage provisions, which require the employer to report any injury claimed by an employee. Instead, report all injuries, but let the claims representative know about the concerns. The carrier’s representative will investigate the claim and its circumstances.
 Sending a First Report of Injury to your carriers agent.
Please report workers’ compensation claims directly to your carrier and not the employers’ insurance agent.
 Filing in the wrong state.
A good rule of thumb is to file in the state where the employee was hired or is typically based out of. When in doubt, it’s still best to make the report right away and let your carriers’ claims representative know that you have concerns.