What Is a Company's Responsibility for a Workers Comp Injury to an Employee?

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    Emergency Treatment

    • When a serious accident or injury occurs, the employer must immediately summon emergency medical treatment. Sending the employee home for treatment after an injury is seriously frowned upon by work comp carriers and by state law. If the injuries are not serious or life-threatening, the employer must have some means of providing needed medical treatment to a reasonable extent. State and federal laws require on-site first aid kits and specialized medical equipment for facilities that have hazardous materials or that present dangerous working conditions.

    Reporting

    • The employer must report the accident or injury to the workers' compensation carrier. Failure to do so can result in the personal liability of the business owner for the accident. Most work comp carriers provide a telephone contact number in case of an accident, and also require a written report. Some states require written notices to the public work comp administrator, as well. The employer must also provide the employee with information on the carrier, so that the employee can file a claim if necessary.

    Investigation

    • The employer must comply with any investigation of the accident requested by the insurance company. Employers must also furnish complete information on the injured worker's duties and wages as requested by the work comp carrier. This usually takes the form of a wage statement, detailing the worker's average earnings over a period of several months prior to the accident. Average weekly wages are used by many states to set minimum compensation amounts for employees who lose time from work.

    Retaliation

    • The employer may not retaliate against injured workers by firing them, reducing their hours or wages, or take any other action as a direct result of the work comp-related accident. If time off from work is ordered by a medical provider, the employer must cooperate to a reasonable extent by providing sick leave as provided for in the contract of employment or by state law. Failing to follow the statutes on work comp injuries can lead to a wrongful discharge or discrimination lawsuit.

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