Employees who have suffered a work injury in Charlotte need to know from the outset that your employer is more interested in mitigating his or her own costs than ensuring you receive the proper compensation.
If you needed proof, just look to the recent article printed in Insurance Business America entitled, “InFocus: How agents can slash 20% to 50% from workers’ comp costs.”
The report indicates that a recent MarketScout study found that across the country, workers’ compensation rates rose an average of 3 percent in February, indicating insurance carriers are raising their rates and reducing their offerings. The article outlines ways that employers can reduce their workers’ compensation expenses.
The first involves being choosy with a workers’ compensation carrier. There is nothing wrong with this, per se, but choosing a cheap policy may result in workers having a tougher time obtaining benefits.
The second element involves employers developing a thorough post-injury response policy. The article rightly points out that a “small claim can turn into a big claim without a proper post-injury response.” While about half of all employers say they have a post-injury response procedure, there are many who don’t actually use it.
That can exacerbate a worker’s injuries and increase the amount of time he or she must remain out of work. Beyond the emergency response, employers are advised to have a thorough work injury notification process. The article notes that the longer it takes for the employer to receive word of diagnosis, the longer an employee may be out of work and “racking up medical costs.”
Finally, employers are advised to develop a return-to-work strategy. It’s estimated that about 65 percent of all companies have such a policy, but that means about 35 percent don’t. These procedures encourage employees to return to work, even if they are not fully recovered to the point where they engage in all tasks. This is not inherently a bad idea, and it can even be positive for the worker. However, the worker must be careful not to overexert or engage in any activity that could cause re-injury. It’s important that workers make sure that whatever modified light duties that employers have outlined in their plans match up with the kinds of activities for which the worker has been medically approved.
Perhaps most interesting about this article is what is glaringly absent from the list of ways to reduce worker compensation costs: Improve workplace safety. An employer that values policies and procedures that serve to keep workers from being injured in the first place will largely be able to avoid the economic burden that results when workers get hurt – because accidents won’t happen as often.
Unfortunately, there are many employers who don’t make this aspect a priority, and that is another one of the primary reasons that worker’s compensation costs are on the rise. But that point was conveniently overlooked.
Workers’ compensation coverage allows workers to have their medical bills covered, as well as up to two-thirds of their normal salary during the time they are unable to work. An employer and its insurance carrier will do everything possible to discount your claim and minimize your injuries. This is why it’s so important for workers to have a strong and experienced advocate during these proceedings.
Contact the Carolina work injury lawyers at the Lee Law Offices by calling 800-887-1965.
InFocus: How agents can slash 20% to 50% from workers’ comp costs, March 25, 2014, By Caitlin Bronson, Insurance Business rica
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Old Work Injuries Can Factor Into Newer Injury Findings, March 19, 2014, Charlotte Workers’ Compensation Lawyer Blog