When a workplace injury or illness occurs, many employers and employees simply don’t know how to handle the incident from a workers comp claims standpoint. This is understandable since some industries aren’t as prone to work-related accidents as others.
Whenever an employee is injured, it is essential that the proper process be followed in order to protect both the injured worker and the employer. If you know what to do prior to an injury happening, you will be better prepared to file the necessary paperwork and also get your employee the treatment he or she needs.
Workers Compensation Insurance in New York: What the Law Requires
New York laws about workers comp claims require that injured workers report their injury to the employer immediately but no later than 30 days after the incident. Note that the law mandates an injury be reported. It does not say a claim be filed. That’s because the laws state that a workers compensation insurance claim must be filed within 2 years of the injury date. Of course, the sooner a claim is filed, the sooner employees may obtain medical treatment and workers comp benefits.
In addition, employees are also responsible for personally filing the workers comp claim form with the New York State Workers Compensation Board. The employer then files an accident report with his/her insurance company and the board.
Late reporting or mishandling of the claims process can hurt both the employer and the employee.
How Claims Handling Affects Workers Comp Claims
When claims are not reported in a timely manner, workers compensation benefit payments are usually delayed. This can be potentially harmful to employees who cannot work due to their injury. Additionally, there other ways that claims handling and reporting can affect an employer and employee:
1) Investigations – when an injury is reported or claim filed late, it makes it very difficult for the insurance carrier to conduct an investigation to gather cause and determine the extent of the injury. If a claim is disputed, it becomes quite difficult to not have evidence early in the process.
2) Claims Cost – because of the potential liability and the risk of re-injury, failing to report a claim in a timely manner can end up greatly increasing the cost of the claim compared to if it is filed early or right at time of injury.
3) Employee Morale – employees rely on the care of their employer for their safety on the job. Withholding a claim form or delaying treatment may be viewed as negligence and is illegal.
4) Potential Litigation – the longer the wait before reporting a claim increases the chances for a lawsuit by the employee.
5) Law Violation – delays in claims filing may violate state law since workers comp claims reporting is regulated by state law.
Workers in New York must report injuries immediately to their employer, and for many cases, employers need to notify their insurance carrier as well. Staying proactive with workers and claims adjusters keeps everyone communicating so that workers may get the treatment they need so they can recover and return to work as soon as possible. Not only will you save money in the long run, but you also reduce the potential for litigation.