As an employer, you never want to go through the nightmare of employees being injured at your workplace. Unfortunately, accidents sometimes happen at work and especially at construction sites. When they do occur, it's important to handle workers' compensation claims correctly.
Why It's Important to Cover Your Employees with Workers' Comp Insurance
First of all, if you have a small business, check to see if workers' compensation insurance is a requirement in your state. If workers' comp insurance is required, failing to carry it can result in severe consequences, such as having to pay out-of-pocket benefits to an injured employee. Furthermore, you may have to pay penalties that are levied by your state. Even worse, you could be sued by an employee and face criminal prosecution.
Here are a few common workers' comp mistakes to avoid:
Not Obtaining All the Necessary Medical Evidence
One of the most common mistakes many small business owners make regarding workers' comp claims is failing to collect all the necessary medical evidence involving a claim. In fact, having accurate medical records regarding injuries before a workplace injury occurred is just as essential as securing medical records following the injury.
When examining medical evidence, you'll need to determine if medical records back up a claimant's physical grievances pertaining to an injury at work. Another consideration is deciding if the medical records provide facts that aren't consistent with how the injured employee looks or behaves. Check to see if the claimant has a history of changing doctors after being released to go back to work. Additionally, determine if the claimant has received treatment in the past for the injured area of his or her body.
Failing to Conduct a Thorough Investigation
A huge workers' comp mistake is failing to do a thorough investigation or procrastinating in starting it. A methodical investigation needs to begin on a workers' comp claim as soon as possible. The investigation should include facts, such as:
- An employee's full name. In the case of an injured female employee, the maiden name should also be noted.
- Include any nicknames or previous names.
- A current address, besides an employee's previous address
- All phone numbers
- Social Security number
- Drivers' license number
- Vehicle information, including make, model and year
- The injured body part
- Source of the injury, such as a slippery floor or a machine
- The date and specific time of the injury, in addition to the date and time the injury was reported
- Any witnesses to the accident, including their phone numbers, emails and other contact information
Being Unprepared for a Hearing
Not being prepared for a possible hearing is another big mistake some small business owners make. Just because an injured employee doesn't submit a particular form or retain legal counsel doesn't mean there won't be a hearing. Thus, it's important you be prepared for a hearing. Keep in mind that a hearing officer needs detailed proof that's reliable.
How a PEO Can Help with Workers' Comp Claims
Having to manage and process workers' compensation claims can be time consuming and stressful. As a result, it can affect work productivity. However, this doesn't have to be the case when a PEO (Personal Employee Organization) does the job. Not having to handle workers' comp claims is only one benefit of hiring a PEO for your small business. These professionals can make running your small business easier, so you have more time to invest into your small business. Some of their many duties include:
- Making improvementd in workplace safety
- Scheduling employees' vacations
- HR solutions
- Compliance support
- Commercial insurance
- Handling payroll
- Managing paperwork and performing other valuable services
You can do a better job of managing your business when you have a PEO on your team. Our Harbor America workers' compensation specialists are there when you need them, providing efficient and quick claim services for both you and your workers, being sure they get the needed benefits and care they deserve. We serve small to mid-sized business owners in construction industries as well as other blue collar industries. Please contact us for a free consultation.