Vigilant Blog

News, trends and analysis in employment law, HR, safety & workers' comp

May 10, 2017

10 Signs a Workers’ Comp Claim is Going to Cost You

Workers’ Comp 

1.    A claim is filed by a difficult employee
If you have a difficult employee, chances are they are going to be a difficult injured employee. Be pro-active with clear performance expectations and deal with any behavior and performance challenges early. If a claim is filed, treat the worker the same as anyone else, with open communication and an aggressive return-to-work plan.
2.    Your worker is certified off-work and you haven’t called them
Find out how they are doing, if they are getting better, and when they can return to work. Send a card and make regular follow-up phone calls. If you aren’t talking to them, then who is?
3.    What? No return-to-work options?
Getting an injured employee back to work early is the best way to contain claim costs. When your employee has an option to get back to work and feel productive not only will they feel and heal better, they’ll get out of the claim system faster.
4.    Your employee has a substance abuse problem
Did you know that 38 to 50 percent of all workers’ compensation claims are related to substance abuse?  Have a strong anti-drug policy in place and consider both pre-employment and post-incident drug testing (all incidents, not just injuries, and only if impairment may have contributed to the injury).
5.    There is a history of unmanaged health issues
While not directly related to the claimed injury, health issues such as obesity, diabetes, hypertension, smoking, arthritis, and depression can impact the duration, treatment and recovery of an injured worker. Take steps toward improving overall employee health by establishing a wellness program.
6.    Your worker is avoiding you
The best defense you have is giving them exactly what they don’t want—early return-to-work options. If you suspect a worker has secondary gain motivations or just a general disinterest in working, it’s important to get them back to work as quickly as possible before they develop new lifestyle habits.
7.    You question the validity of the claim, but can’t prove it
Was the injury reported early Monday morning? Are there conflicting descriptions of injury, a history of claims, or difficulty reaching the worker? These are all red flags of a suspect claim. Investigate quickly, including witness and co-worker interviews, and contact your Vigilant Claims Manager right away to help with the investigation. 
8.    Your employee has bigger issues than injury pain
When it comes to workers’ compensation, research suggests that physical pain explains only 10% of a disability, while perceived injustices, fear, and/or avoidance of pain play a far greater role in delaying recovery. Keep those lines of communication open and keep the employee engaged and working.
9.    Your employee suffered a catastrophic injury
Catastrophic claims such as head injuries, amputations, and severe burns can result in long-term disability and psychological issues. Your best bet is to communicate openly about your worker’s healing process, as well as any return-to-work options. Severe injuries can often take a long time to heal, and your worker may need additional support throughout the process. 
10.  You take an Us vs. Them approach
No company wants to pay increased premiums due to yet another claim filing. But questioning every claim and assuming every injured worker is fraudulent is going to get you a bad rap as an employer, and won’t do a thing to reduce your number of injuries or workers’ comp costs. Make an effort to create a culture of caring and respect.

Preventing injuries and reducing losses takes teamwork. Check out our Workers’ Comp Program where you'll work with a dedicated claim manager for all your claim needs.

This website presents general information in nontechnical language. This information is not legal advice. Before applying this information to a specific management decision, consult legal counsel.