Prompt Reporting of Workers' Comp Claims Pays Off in Real Dollars

Timely reporting of Workers' Compensation claims makes good business sense and it helps maintain positive employee relations. Claims should ideally be reported on the same day that the accident occurs, but that is not always feasible. Your goal, however, should be to report 50 percent or more of your claims within 24 hours and 90 percent or more of your claims within three days of the injury date. Reporting in all cases should be completed within the required time specified by state law. 

Direct consequences of not reporting claims promptly 

There are a number of reasons why you should file Workers' Compensation claims on a timely basis, not the least of which is the direct impact on the cost of your insurance. Filing a claim within a day or two of an incident can help you: 

  • Reduce medical costs
  • Reduce administrative costs
  • Reduce lost-work time
  • Reduce litigation costs
  • Reduce indemnity payments

Numerous studies over time show the value of immediate claim reporting. The numbers vary because of state, injury, employer and employee mix, but are consistently supportive of the importance of prompt reporting. 

A multi-year, multi-state study of Fireman's Fund claims showed a 15 percent jump in average claim value from early (less than 4 days) claims reported versus claims reported between 4-21 days. Even more striking was the 47 percent jump from early to late (more than 22 days) reported claims. And, the litigation rate rose 57 percent. 

Claims delayed by just three days increase risk of additional costs 

  • The chances of attorney involvement increase by 50 percent. After the third day, workers often feel their employer doesn't have an interest in resolving the issue and seek an attorney as their only recourse.
  • Medical costs are likely to rise 16 percent or more.After three days, an employee is inclined to seek the advice and services of an independent healthcare provider who may unnecessarily order additional tests and prolonged treatment.

Indirect consequences to delaying claim filing 

An employee whose income benefits are delayed may become bitter and resentful. If left unchecked, this attitude may impact the productivity of a group, department or the entire organization. 

Habitually filing late claims may lead to a tarnished public image, making it more difficult to recruit the best job candidates. 

Claim Reporting Options 

Fireman's Fund makes it easy to immediately report claims by following these three steps: 

  1. Contact VISC/NT24 (Nurse Triage) at 1-866-754-6215 for assistance in determining appropriate medical care. VISC/NT24 is a nurse triage program for work-related injuries or illnesses available only to VISC clients. It provides immediate medical attention to injured employees.

  2. Refer the employee to their approved (or pre-designated) medical provider for treatment.

  3. Report claim: a) by phone: dial 1.888.FIREHAT (1.888.347.3428) and select option 1; or b) go Online: go to www.firemansfund.com, select "Report a Claim" (on the right).

Don't wait! Prompt Workers' Compensation claims reporting can be measured in pure dollars and cents and in employee relations. 

For Further Assistance in Preventing all Types of Losses:  

  • Call VISC at 1.888.762.3143.
  • Call the Fireman's Fund toll-free Loss Control Help Desk at 888.527.6872. 

Source:  Members’ Edge, March 12, 2010

  


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