Is Your Return-to-Work Program Well-Understood?

Poor communication can affect a worker’s recovery and increase your insurance rates.

If an employee gets injured while on the job, then you will have to file a workers compensation insurance claim.  Typically, the medical side of things is fairly straight-forward.  Based on the physician’s or surgeon’s report, the claims adjuster can evaluate the employee’s risk factors and determine when and under what capacity they can return to work.  However, it is often the employer’s failure to communicate that complicates the return-to-work process.  When employers are not clear regarding the availability of light-duty work, then the whole process is roadblocked.  When the claim is drawn out, employees get more frustrated, and your workers comp rates get more inflated.  The best way to avoid these issues is by having a clear understanding of your return-to-work plan and effectively communicating the details of this plan with your adjuster and the employee.

Early-on in the claims process, the adjuster will ask the employer if there is light-duty work available for the injured employee.  If the employer says yes, then the adjuster makes plans for the employee to return to the workplace when they have reached the appropriate stage of recovery.  However, this return is delayed when the employer fails to provide the details of the light-duty work (what kind of work it is, the physical requirements of the work, etc.).  The employee’s return can also be delayed simply because the employer does not take steps to place the worker in a modified position.

This delay can cause the employee to become uneasy and can actually stall their physical recovery.  This lack of movement can actually lead to the employee hiring an attorney to sue their employer for damages.  In the event of a lawsuit, your workers compensation insurance costs will increase.  Even if the injured employee does not sue, the longer they remain out of work, the longer your insurance has to provide for them.  This too, will result in an increase in your rates.

To avoid this costly delay, employers should make sure that light-duty work is available for the injured employee before responding to their claims adjuster.  They should also know what this work is and how it can be altered or scaled to fit the worker’s current condition.  Make sure your adjuster has a copy of the light-duty work description so they can accurately plan the employee’s return date.  This is an easy way to ensure that you integrate injured staff back into the workplace and keep insurance costs at a minimum.

This is how clearly defining, understanding, and communicating the details of your return-to-work plan can keep injured employees happy while also lowering your workers compensation insurance costs.  Are you looking for further assistance with your commercial coverage needs?  If so, then turn to the experts at PMC Insurance Group.  We are ready to assist you with all your insurance needs today.

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