Q: Do we have to report all injuries, even those that are insignificant?
Prompt reporting of all work-related injuries is a risk management best practice for any ministry. Responses to the following questions provide more information about how prompt reporting benefits your ministry and employees.
Q. Should I report a minor, on-the-job injury to my workers’ compensation insurance company even if the injury does not require treatment?
Yes. You should report everything that might potentially be covered under workers’ compensation insurance – regardless of how minor the incident might have been. Minor injuries can sometimes develop into more serious ones, and can end up requiring treatment.
Most states have laws that require employers to report any potential workers’ compensation injury, even if the injury is not severe. Prompt reporting also provides information that helps claims adjusters investigate and respond to a claim in a timely manner.
Many First Report of Injury forms have a category for “notification only,” and many states require this information be reported to the state workers’ compensation unit. The most current version of this form are usually available on state workers’ compensation websites.
Q. When should I report potential workers’ compensation claims?
All on-the-job injuries, regardless of how minor, should be reported immediately. Often, immediate reporting is required under the terms of workers’ compensation policies. By not reporting injuries promptly, you may be violating a condition of your policy, which could jeopardize your workers' compensation coverage. Delayed reporting also may limit the adjuster’s ability to fully establish the facts of the situation at the time of the injury. In some cases, late reporting raises questions about potential fraud.
Q. Why is it important that I promptly report all employee injuries to my insurance company?
There are a number of major benefits for prompt reporting employee injuries. Many states have statutes that require action from the insurance carrier as soon as “notice” is given. “Notice” is defined as the date when the employer or any employee knew of the injury to the claimant. In other words, when it comes to reporting a new loss, insured ministries are viewed the same as the insurance carrier regarding “notice.”
Prompt reporting also:
May provide early indications of underlying problems or deficiencies in safety and risk management that can be corrected before a major incident occurs.
Allows medical treatment to take place at specialized occupational medical clinics familiar with treating on-the-job injuries, thereby helping to promote quicker healing and facilitate an employee’s early return to work.
Improves coordination of care between your ministry and the medical clinic, which may result in better injury management and claim resolution outcomes.
Helps identify fraud on the part of the injured employee or a third party.
Helps your insurance company pursue payment of a claim by a negligent third party (subrogation), potentially saving your ministry from having to pay additional expenses.
Q. Are there any penalties for failure to promptly report all claims?
Yes, as mentioned above, most states require employers to report all employee injuries and potential workers’ compensation claims. Failure to do so can often result in fines as a penalty for failure to report claims. Some states also will impose fines or penalties if late reporting to the state workers’ compensation unit is due to a delay in reporting to the insurance carrier.
*Important information: Brotherhood Mutual is pleased to provide Legal Assist as a complimentary resource. The services we offer through Legal Assist are intended to provide general legal information to our current and prospective policyholders.
The information we provide is intended to be helpful, but it does not constitute legal advice and is not a substitute for the advice from a licensed attorney in your area. Accordingly, no attorney/client relationship is created through this process, and no legal advice will be provided. We strongly encourage you to regularly consult with a local attorney as part of your risk management program.
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