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How to Handle a Workers' Compensation Incident

Author: Michael C. Jacobson, XpertHR Legal Editor

Workplace injuries suffered by employees are extremely common and are typically governed by state workers' compensation programs. Unfortunately, in today's litigious atmosphere, lawsuits and disputes resulting from these injuries are also common, despite the workers' compensation system.

To avoid unnecessary litigation, employers should ensure that they have robust policies and procedures to inform employees of their rights and obligations when it comes to workers' compensation and that they respond to workplace injuries in a timely and thorough manner while operating within the constraints of the workers' compensation system. To that end, employers should be aware of common exceptions and limitations to workers' compensation claims, together with the options at their disposal to dispute invalid or frivolous claims.

If a valid claim is made, an employer is still obligated to stay in touch with the employee during the course of their medical treatment and to provide equal or similar employment when they are ready to return to work. If an employee remains physically limited but otherwise able to return to work, the employer may be obligated to offer a reduced-capacity job to a disabled employee.