As a California employer one of your top responsibilities is ensuring the safety of your employees. That being said accidents do happen and work place injuries can be a result of such accidents. Should an employee become injured while on the job you must act quickly and conscientiously to comply with state laws. Here is a quick overview into the process of workers compensations claims.
Immediately upon being notified of a workplace injury the employer must complete a First Report of Injury and forward said report to your workers compensation carrier. As an employer you are obligated to ensure that an injured employee receives any medical attention that he or she needs. State law mandates that the medical treatment can be provided by the employer’s doctor or the injured employee may choose a doctor of their choice.
After you have determined if the injured employee requires medical attention you will need to do a preliminary investigation of the incident and interview any and all witnesses. In most business environments the injured employee’s immediate supervisor is the best person to investigate the incident. The rationale behind this is two-fold. One, the employee / supervisor already have a comfortable relationship. And two, the supervisor will know the ins and outs of the employee’s position and safety aspects of that particular position. During the investigation all parties involved should keep detailed notes and should preserve all evidence associated with the incident.
Once the initial report and investigation has occurred there are three main aspects of a workers compensation claim.
- Working With The Insurance Carrier
- The Returning to Work Process
- Workers Compensation Board
Working with your insurance carrier can be a tedious process but it is one that must be followed to ensure the claim is handled properly. Your workers compensation carrier will request a copy of your investigation and may perform their own investigation, including interviewing employees. They may also request a complete copy of the injured employee’s personnel file. All requests should be complied with courtesy and in a time sensitive manner. Also, should the injured employee retain legal counsel, you should notify your workers compensation carrier immediately as well as your own workers compensation lawyer in Long Beach.
When the injured employee is ready to return to work, you are required to welcome the employee back to the same position that he previously held. Upon returning to work the employee may not be penalized or terminated because of the incident. Should your investigation find that lack of training led to the accident, further training should be promptly exercised to the employee?
The Division of Workers Compensation (“DWC”) oversees all workers compensations claims and reviews claims for both employee and employer fraud. In particular the DWC audits claims where they suspect an employee is exaggerating their symptoms and instances where employers do not file a First Report of Injury. The DWC is also a valuable resource should the employee and employer disagree on the extent of an injury. In an instance such as this, both parties would appear before a judge at one of the DWC’s district offices to explain their position and reach a resolution.
Workers Compensation Claims can be tricky to navigate but if you follow the correct steps the process can be navigated efficiently for all involved.