Consequences of delayed reporting of workplace injuries
A workplace injury victim should report their injury as soon as possible, but sometimes, employees are scared of the consequences. Employers should encourage their workers to report such injuries on time, but there should not be a strict deadline for reporting workplace injuries. Strict deadlines force the workers to avoid reporting injuries, which if left untreated, can get worse. Once the injuries worsen, the compensation costs also increase when injuries are reported at a later stage.
A study by NCCI (National Council on Compensation Insurance Inc.) showed that delayed claims can increase the company costs for compensation to about 51%. In such a case, both parties, the plaintiff and the defendant, are at loss. NCCI also said that the injuries reported on the day of the injury are mostly serious ones where immediate medical assistance is required. The median costs for workplace injuries were found to be the lowest for injuries reported in the first two weeks. The injuries reported after the first two weeks resulted in high compensation costs.
The Director of NCCI said that the reason behind high costs of late reported injuries is that such injuries are left to heal on their own and by the time the victim realizes the gravity of the situation, the injury worsens to an extent that costs the company more than it should originally have. It was also found that attorneys were involved in 12.8% of cases reported on the same day as the accident while the percentage was 31.7% for cases which were reported later on. Early reporting is also necessary as one can collect all the necessary evidence of an accident to be used as a source for compensation later on as needed. Late reporting only increases the complexity of the case which results in loss of time and energy, not to forget the extra costs associated with late reporting.
Experts say that employers can reduce the workers compensation charges by being less strict about their policies and by not having deadlines for workplace injury reporting. Moreover, it is equally important for workers not to let a minor injury fester to a point where the compensation charges are greatly increased.
Sometimes, most injuries are treated right away by in-house medical consultants. Isn other cases, the workers report an injury, but the supervisor may delay reporting it further. Experts suggest that employers should hold meetings with their workers to talk about workplace injuries and the consequences of delayed reporting. They should also encourage workers to report even any minor details of the injuries as soon as possible.
It is also advisable for employers to tell their insurers about the accident in a report-only format which excludes the formality from the case. It gives enough time to claim handlers to make a potential claim taking every minute detail into consideration. Insurers mainly encourage reporting of all kinds of incidents, no matter how minor, as it is better to have these minor details on record to avoid any complications of delayed reporting.