Safety Group Program Newsletter March 2014

 

Editor’s Note: Safety Group Program Monthly Newsletter Article – March 2014
Contact: Beth Kolakowski (303.361.4774, beth.kolakowski@pinnacol.com)

The Importance of 24-Hour Reporting

Workers’ compensation claims can vary greatly in severity, complexity and duration, but one thing is certain — there is a direct correlation between reporting time and the cost of a claim. Studies show that claims reported more than three days after an incident occurred increased claim costs by 30 percent or more. Increased costs are related to medical expenses, attorney involvement and fraud.

In addition to the potential increased costs, you can actually incur penalties if you delay reporting. Colorado law states you have 10 days from the time a worker notifies you of an injury to report it. If you report the injury after 10 days, and the specific claim meets certain criteria, you may be subject to fines and/or other penalties in the State of Colorado.

Because claims are often complex, it is recommended that employers implement a 24-hour reporting process to ensure complete and accurate information. In addition to avoiding penalties and potential increased costs, administering and regulating a 24-hour claim reporting process can help by:

  • Ensuring the injured worker receives prompt medical attention which can mean a quicker return-to-work
  • Decreasing potential for litigation, or attorney involvement
  • Securing a timely accident investigation while key information is still readily available

Take a proactive stance by encouraging your employees to report injuries as soon as they occur. Conduct regular safety meetings and provide consistent reminders of the importance of prompt reporting. Use visuals such as safety and reminder posters, outline reporting processes in the employee handbook and regularly post information in common areas. You will also need access to the injured workers identification information including Social Security number, your organization’s policy number as well as details about the injury. Knowing where this information is can help move the reporting process along.

All in all, the costs of delayed reporting will vary case by case because each claim is different and varies by industry, circumstance, employer and nature of the injury. However, one thing holds true: the quicker a claim is reported, the faster and more controlled the claims process typically is.

If you have any additional questions about obtaining workers’ compensation insurance, please contact your Pinnacol marketing representative.