What to Do When a Worker Refuses Workers’ Compensation Treatment
When a worker is injured, there are specific timelines to follow and forms to complete with respect to workers’ compensation insurance. But what about when a worker is injured and refuses to accept treatment or file a claim? What are your responsibilities as the employer? While the exact legal answer depends on your situation and state laws, consider the following to limit your liability.
Discuss the Injury with Your Employee
If you notice that an employee has been injured, even if the employee has not mentioned it, gently bring it up and discuss the circumstances of the injury with the employee to determine whether the injury is job-related. Many state workers’ compensation statutes obligate employers to report injuries as soon as they have knowledge of them. Delay in reporting the injury could result in much more costly claims. Completing the paperwork to report injuries is not an admission of your liability—on the contrary, it could protect you.
In the Case of Refusal
When you do discuss the injury with the employee, explain that reporting job-related injuries entitles injured workers to certain benefits while recovering from the injury. If the employee does not wish to file a claim for the injury, file the employer’s portion of the report with a statement of refusal to pursue a claim signed by the employee. It is crucial that you document this conversation to protect your organization from being penalized in the future.
Employees that do initially report injuries but then refuse treatment under the physician or facility that your organization furnishes should sign a similar form confirming this refusal.
Benefits for Employees that Refuse Treatment
State workers’ comp statutes vary, but in most cases, workers’ compensation benefits are suspended for employees that refuse to comply with any reasonable request for examination or refuse to accept medical service or physical rehabilitation which the employer elects to furnish. Benefits may not be payable for this period of refusal of treatment—check with your workers’ comp carrier.
While these instances tend to be rare, you should prepare for an employee refusal to accept treatment for a workplace injury or assist with a claim. All employers should have a legal representative draft a form for refusal-of-treatment that complies with state requirements, so it is immediately available when needed. Discuss with supervisors the importance of documenting and reporting all injuries, whether or not the worker chooses to report them.
Talk to a Workers’ Compensation Insurance Leader
For answers to all your workers’ compensation insurance questions, reach out to the professionals at VTC Insurance Group. Give us a call at 248.828.3377 or visit vtcins.com.
This blog is for informational purposes only and is not intended as legal advice.