Follow these best practices to offset rising workers’ comp costs:

Reporting of Incidents and Accidents
Timely reporting of accidents is critical in starting the appropriate investigation on a given claim. Claims have a tendency to get worse as time passes, and much of the information on the claim can get lost or confused. Start early, and keep the review process going until the claim is closed.

Medical fraud
When workers are sent to the clinic following an injury, it is important to have them accompanied by someone who is aware of the red flags that can send a claim into the danger zone. Having a superintendent who understands the process can allow companies to assess the claim higher up the chain quickly when it is appropriate to do so, thus mitigating negative claim development.

Occupational clinics
Contractors need to be aware of the best occupational clinics in a given area. Having injured workers visit these facilities can help get the claim resolved and the worker back to work.

Job descriptions
Creating detailed job descriptions will help facilitate the injured worker’s transition back to work. Solid job descriptions will help the attending physician to support the contractor’s return-to-work program.

If there is a questionable claim, early intervention and surveillance can help move the claim to a desirable outcome. In today’s high-tech world, social media surveillance is becoming a significant tool in tracking questionable injuries.

Claims-handling protocols
It is vital that the contractor has the ability to review and approve, in advance, the claims-handling protocols to be applied by the insurance company. This will set the strategy for all claims and provide a means of auditing success of the claims-handling party.

Claim reviews
Quarterly meetings involving the contractor, claims adjuster and supervisors are an effective means of not only improving communication but of modifying the strategies that exist on a given claim.

Action-over cases are driving many of the large liability settlements in construction, particularly in states like New York, where labor laws have been exploited by a few cagey attorneys. Advance selection of top legal support is critical, as is understanding the challenges of various state venues. Be prepared, and have counsel assist in developing specific actions for cases that might one day be seen as a liability suit.