All workers’ compensation claims have one thing in common – they all start with an alleged work-related injury. A savvy and conscientious employer will have procedures in place, ready to go for when an employee reports an injury on the job. These procedures include obtaining medical care, providing necessary forms and paperwork to the employee, and investigating the injury properly. Failure to conduct a proper and thorough investigation of a work-related injury sustained by an employee could lead to much bigger problems down the road.
It is first essential to obtain a completely clear account of the accident directly from the injured employee. This account should be in writing, and should provide as many details as the employee can recall. Every step should be taken to get this written account as soon as possible following the injury. By providing a description of the event and the injury early on, it will be much more difficult for an employee to fraudulently expand the injury at a later date. For example, if an employee injures her hand during an accident, if she has already provided this written account, it will be much more difficult for her to later include her foot as part of a work-related injury. Getting a clear account of the accident can also provide important feedback to an employer about how to prevent similar injuries to other employees in the future.
Another critical step is to obtain witness statements. Like the statement from the employee, the witness statement should be in writing and gathered as soon as possible following the incident. Witness statements will assist in rooting out inconsistencies between an employee’s claimed injury and what actually happened. Having a supervisor review the witness and employee statements is also an important step. The supervisor can provide important insight as to whether the claimed injury is an injury that is realistic or if it shows red flags of fraud.
If there are red flags, an employer may want to consider hiring a private investigator to look into the employee’s behavior outside of work. An investigator can give the employer insight as to whether the employee is engaging in activities that are inconsistent with a claimed injury.
Although the vast majority of workers’ compensation claims are legitimate, it is very important to investigate each injury with as much detail as possible. Contact us today at (714) 516-8188 to talk about your case and what investigative steps should be taken for your business.