Workers Compensation is an inherently adversarial system. At its core there is one person trying to prove to a system that they deserve compensation for an injury they have sustained.
Despite this, we firmly believe that in most cases, every stakeholder can have a positive outcome from the process.
Early intervention which empowers the injured person and puts the employer in the driving seat, if done right,can set the claim on a positive path.
An injured person wants to know whether they going to be treated fairly. Are they going to be treated with respect or are they just going to be a number? Are they going to receive quality medical care? Are they going to understand what the process is and what the goals are?
Addressing these questions at the outset and setting the tone will give them peace of mind that they are cared for as a human being. In turn it will make it easier to manage their expectations of what can be provided and what’s expected from them. Importantly it also helps avoid frustration.
Empowering the injured person means allowing them to take an active role in planning their treatment and recovery. Obviously, the medical and rehab professionals need to have the most input but it’s important to make sure that any concerns or ideas the injured person has are listened to.
Most injured people have a goal for their recovery and their return to work. Most people genuinely want to get back to their normal duties.
One of the first contacts an injured worker has is with their supervisor, or a manager when they report the injury. The initial response must be one of concern and respect for the injured employee. Any other response is simply unacceptable and will damage the culture of the workplace.
Hearing “I feel like they’re angry with me because I got hurt,” or, “I’ve worked there for so many years, but then when I got hurt, I felt like they didn’t care.” is really damaging and most often leads to drawn out recoveries. The employer response sets the tone for the whole claim experience.
We underestimate the emotional impact an injury can have. The employer needs to stay in contact with their injured employee to provide support and guidance – and to ensure that they get help with any other issues that arise because of their injury. Caring about the human being at the centre of the claim and working together towards a positive outcome benefits all stakeholders. It benefits the employer, the insurance company, and of course, most of all, the injured worker.