A serious workplace injury or fatality is the worst nightmare of many business owners. No boss or manager wants to put their employees at unnecessary risk of injury or to witness the development of illness over time. However, accidents do happen, and employers need to prepare for the worst.
When an employee is injured, their wellbeing may be your number-one concern; however, it’s not the only thing you need to worry about. Unfortunately, someone has to pay the cost of medical care. Legally, this liability falls to the employer in most situations.
To protect yourself financially, you’ll need workers’ comp insurance to cover these costs. The insurance policy will protect you from out-of-pocket expenses, guarantee medical care for the employee, cover disability payments, and even cover funeral expenses in the case of a fatality.
However, work-related injuries and illnesses can get complicated. As an employer, you need to understand how workers’ comp insurance works and what happens when an employee is unsatisfied with the offered compensation.
When Accidents Happen
The risk of work-related accidents varies dramatically across different industries. Industries with the most reported injuries include protective services, the transportation of goods and materials, maintenance, healthcare, construction, agriculture, production, and food preparation. Any business that deals with heavy machinery, hazardous chemicals, dangerous environments, and strenuous physical labor is at high risk for workplace injuries.
However, every industry has some risk of injury, even those that mostly consist of office workers who sit at desks. Slips, trips, and falls, for example, are common causes of work-related accidents.
In most situations, an employee cannot sue their employers for a workplace injury. Rather, they should file a claim for worker’s compensation.
Understanding Your Employees’ Options
After an incident occurs, the affected employee files a claim with the insurance provider. Upon filing their claim, employees have two options to obtain the support they need after an accident:
- Accept the insurance’ providers compensation package, as offered
- Pursue a lump sum or structured settlement
The Workers’ Comp Settlement Process
If an employee isn’t satisfied with the insurance provider’s compensation offer, they can pursue a settlement with the help of an attorney or even take the employer to court.
The workers comp settlement process begins with an assessment by the employee’s attorney to determine the payment they believe their client deserves. The attorney then sends this request to the insurance provider.
Next, the parties involved try to negotiate a settlement, which can be a lump-sum payment or a structured settlement. As an employer, you want to ensure a smooth settlement process. To do so, make yourself available to communication, file all necessary paperwork, and comply with your insurance provider and legal representation.
How to Avoid Workers’ Comp Settlements
To avoid expensive legal fees, negative press, and drawn-out negotiations, employers should do everything they can to prevent workers’ comp settlements.
To avoid having to settle with employees, employers can take the following precautions:
#1. Know Your Options
Business owners should review their workers’ compensation insurance policy every year and remain on the lookout for better providers or plans. Each year, do extensive research into your policy options to ensure you have optimal protection.
Note that employers in Ohio, Wyoming, Washington, and North Dakota, however, cannot buy workers’ comp from a private insurer; they must use the provided state fund for workers’ comp coverage.
#2. Choose the Best-Fit Policy
The aim is to gather the most comprehensive policy possible at a reasonable cost. As you speak with your insurance provider, ask about how they’ll handle the gravest possible situations in your workspaces. Place yourself in the shoes of your employees and consider whether an insurance company’s terms will be acceptable.
#3. Seek Employee Input
It’s best to ask your trusted employees or union representatives about what insurance provisions employees care about most. This encourages healthy dialogue and provides you with valuable insight so you can choose the best insurance company to meet their needs.
#4. Work on Avoiding Accidents
The most effective way to avoid workers’ comp settlements is to prevent workplace injuries altogether.
Look through your safety standards and monitor how they’re enforced and followed. Have scheduled check-ups on your equipment and invest in safety training sessions for your employees. You may even want to implement an incentive program to promote safe practices in your work areas.
Adopting a Favorable Workman’s Comp Policy
Ensure the success of your company by investing in high-quality workers’ compensation policy. Your investment will help you avoid settlements while showing your employees that you care for their welfare. For financial protection and peace of mind, take your time shopping workers’ comp providers and pick the plan that best serves your needs.