Dealing with workplace injuries and workers' compensation

The way that a workplace injury is handled in the first 24 hours after it occurs is critical. There are some practices that North Carolina employers could implement to reduce the number of workers' compensation claims and to manage the cost of those filed.

The first practice is ensuring that work injuries are addressed with proper guidance and prompt treatment. Many employees experience injuries for the first time and need guidance. When triage nurses are the initial method for seeking guidance rather than workers' compensation claims professionals, injured workers are more likely to be forthcoming with information about their injuries. Triage nurses interview the workers at the accident site, which is the most important time to get the facts. They can also determine whether the workers require medical care or can self-treat with proper medical guidance, which saves on medical costs. When medical care is needed, they can recommend appropriate health care professionals for the workers' injuries.

Another best practice is the employers being involved after workplace injuries happen. This helps set the expectations for the process, relieving the anxiety and frustration that may prompt injured workers to contact workers' compensation attorneys. Reviewing the initially recorded statements and documents regularly can help employers reduce compensation costs and keep the claims from being dragged out and help them reach mutually agreed upon outcomes with injured workers.

Actively monitoring the recovery of injured workers in a cost-effective manner is also important to avoid fraudulent workers' compensation claims. Physically checking on workers can be costly, so employers could use social media and other online tools to achieve this. Installing video cameras on public property may also be useful for monitoring recovering employees.

Workers must report on-the-job injuries to their employers, and employers must report the injuries to their workers' compensation insurers. When workers' compensation claims are approved, the workers could receive disability, medical care and wage-loss benefits. An attorney can often be of assistance to an injured worker with the preparation and submission of the required claim.

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