It is essential for employers to take all reasonable steps to reduce the risk for injury to their employees. Keeping your employees safe is not only the right thing to do, it will keep your business running smoothly and make sure your business does not run afoul of state and federal safety regulations. Almost all employers with very few exceptions are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance. Although employers have taken the precautions to prevent injuries and purchased insurance in case these measures fail, injuries will inevitably happen eventually. It is important for business owners to know the first steps to take after a worker is injured.
A workers’ compensation claim starts when an employee notifies the employer of a work-related injury. The employer is then required to provide the employee with a Workers’ Compensation Form, also known as DWC-1. The employee will need to fill out the form and return it to the employer. An employee providing verbal notice is not sufficient to trigger the employer’s obligation to start paying benefits.
After the employer receives the completed claim form from the employee, the employer has fourteen days to accept, reject, or delay a decision concerning the claim. If the employer delays a decision, it has ninety days to make a final determination. During those ninety days, the employer must provide up to ten thousand dollars of medical care for the employee. However, the employer does not have to pay temporary benefits during this time.
The injured employee will need to be assessed by a medical professional. The employer has the right to select the first doctor. However, the employee does not have to keep seeing that physician. The employer is obligated to provide the employee with notification of the Medical Provider Network, which is a list of medical providers that the employee may choose from. If the employer does not have a MPN, the employee can switch medical providers after thirty days, and can choose any doctor who accepts workers’ compensation insurance.
It is essential that the employer notify his or her workers’ compensation insurance provider as soon as the injury occurs. If the employer does not have insurance, the employer needs to seek assistance from an experienced attorney, as there can be severe penalties for failure to carry the required insurance.
We have extensive experience with all types of workers’ compensation litigation. Call us today for an appointment so we can discuss your business and what we can do to help you at the beginning of a workers’ compensation case.