It’s a situation that no employer wants to face: an employee has been injured, but there are no witnesses to the incident. Generally, workplace injuries are covered under workers’ compensation, but the claim may be denied if there are no witnesses or reports.
What Happens if No One Witnessed an Employee’s Injury?
In most cases, workplace accidents and injuries occur when other employees are around to verify the details of the incident.
“If a job-related injury occurs with no witnesses, however, claims for workers’ compensation benefits will often be denied initially,” says DePaolo & Zadeikis. “Following proper procedures to establish proof can result in claim acceptance.”
As an employer, denial of a workers’ compensation claim can be a headache. The goal is to ensure that employees are happy and taken care of if there’s an injury.
Report the Injury
If an injury occurs and there are no witnesses, it’s even more important to report the incident immediately to the appropriate person – manager, supervisor, owner, etc. The report will ensure that there’s a record of the time and place of the injury.
Make sure that the employee explains how he or she was injured and details of the accident. The more detailed the report, the better.
As an employer, you’ll have a limited time period to accept or deny the claim, and you’ll need to report the incident to the state’s workers’ compensation commission. If the claim is denied, keep in mind that the employee can hire a lawyer and appeal for a hearing.
Get Medical Treatment
It’s important to make sure that any injured employee receives medical attention right away. You may need to refer the employee to a physician on an approved list by the Workers’ Compensation Commission. The doctor will keep detailed reports on the worker’s injury, and make notes on improvements.
The doctor’s notes and reports will verify whether the employee is injured and the severity of the injury.
If an employee is injured and there are no witnesses to the incident, you need to consider the timing of the claim filing. Workers’ compensation claims are often denied because workers fail to file a claim in a timely manner. Inconsistencies in statements can also rouse suspicion.
If there are no witnesses to the accident and the worker takes a long time to file a claim, it’s hard not to question the validity of the claim. As an employer, it’s natural to be concerned about fraudulent claims. It’s important to make sure that employees are following all regulations when reporting injuries – and that includes the timing of the claim filing.
Employee injuries complicate things, but following procedures and ensuring that the worker receives the appropriate care will help keep things running smoothly. If the worker is forced to take time off due to the injury, make sure that he or she is welcomed back after recovering. Employees cannot be terminated or penalized for filing a claim.
Also, it’s important to take steps to help prevent the same accident from happening again in the future.