Workers’ compensation provides financial protection to your company if an employee suffers an injury or illness on the job. It works much like a standard liability insurance policy. When a person suffers an injury, he or she files a claim with the workers’ compensation insurance. But, sometimes workers elect to file a lawsuit instead. A settlement may become necessary. What do you need to do in this situation?
Understanding the Process
Most companies should maintain a workers’ compensation insurance policy. It works to pay out for any type of medical bills or lost time at work an individual suffers.
Like with liability insurance, business owners can be rather hands-off in the process. A worker gets hurt. You supply the information about the injury to the insurance company. The company goes to work. They negotiate a payment for the damages. It pays the person who claims the damage. The case is over.
However, in some situations, the worker may not feel the compensation was enough for them. A compromise or negotiation cannot lead to the best end result for that worker. In this case, the worker may take steps to hire an attorney. He or she then communicates through the attorney with your insurance company. Again, as the business owner, you do not have to do much. This involves the insurance company and the employee, not necessarily the business.
In the case of a settlement like this, the insurance company continues to negotiate until a compromise can occur. Avoiding a full-blown lawsuit tends to be ideal. However, your policy can represent you in this case.
What You Can Do as an Employer
You do have a few things to work through during this process. Every case is different. Be sure to follow the recommendations of your insurer or attorney on each step.
- Provide any and all information requested by your insurance company. This may require following up with you several times.
- If you have any evidence of the incident, provide that, too. This may include witness statements or video feeds.
- Do not communicate directly to any other attorney. If the other attorney or employee contacts you, be sure to refer them to your insurer.
- Never admit any guilt, but do show compassion. You may say, “I’m sorry you are suffering.” But, don’t say, “I’m sorry we did this to you.”
- Determine whether you can continue to employ the individual. This depends on circumstances, state law, and the case as a whole.
Your workers’ compensation insurance is there to help in this situation. Be sure to use it to the fullest extent to get the overage you need.
Also Read: Bringing Employees Back to Active Duty Safely