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Understanding Manager’s Responsibilities When Employees Get Into Accidents

If your business has employees who need to drive or operate a vehicle, you must have a plan to deal with accidents. According to the Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV), Miami-Dade County recorded 63,389 crashes in 2023. If driving is part of the employees’ job, it is considered a workplace accident if they get injured while on the road and driving the company’s vehicle on an approved business.

But car accidents are not the only thing you need to worry about. As you know, accidents can happen anywhere, and workplace accidents are always possible. As the person in charge of the business, you must understand the intricacies of worker compensation and personal injury claims. When an employee is in an accident, it impacts the company’s operations and the individual’s career and well-being.

Workers’ Compensation and Personal Injury Claims

Most employees wonder whether they must pursue compensation for injuries through a personal injury lawsuit or a Workers’ Compensation claim. As a manager or employer, you must clearly understand the two to help your employees and protect your business simultaneously.

The two key provisions in compensation claims or personal injury cases are fault requirement and the available compensations. Personal injury cases are based on who caused the injury and who’s at fault. On the other hand, you don’t have to prove fault with claims for Workers’ Compensation. Claiming compensation for the latter is usually faster but limited to specific areas.

Workers’ Compensation

Like other states, Florida follows a no-fault worker’s compensation system. What this means is that you are not required to prove that your employer was negligent to be able to receive compensation. You only need to show that the injury happened while you were on the job or that you’ve been injured because of work-related activity. Employees are eligible to receive various benefits, including:

  • Payments for wage loss when an employee has a temporary disability.
  • Impairment benefits are usually awarded to employees with permanent limitations or who have undergone amputations.
  • Employees who need reasonable and necessary medical care.
  • Employees who need retraining or education for a new line of work.

Personal Injury Claims

While there are instances when accidents happen and it’s no one’s fault, you need to prove that someone was negligent if you are suing for personal injury damages. You and your lawyer will need to provide evidence that the other party’s negligence caused the accident. Personal injury cases are complex as they can involve multiple parties and a range of compensation.

What to Do If Your Employee Is Injured at Work?

If one of your employees has been injured while working, whether within the business premises or not, it is crucial to act fast. Your first goal should be to have the injury treated. Once that’s done, it’s time to start the process of filing workers comp claim on behalf of the employee.

The OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) has set the standards employers and managers must follow. These are workplace safety recommendations and guidelines on what to do if these fail and an employee suffers a workplace injury. Here are some tips to help you plan and prevent overly costly injury:

Workers’ Compensation Coverage and Risk Mitigation

The first thing you should do as an employer or manager is start working on workers’ compensation coverage. Workers’ compensation insurance is required in all states. Business owners need to have it before they can hire employees. Without this coverage, you may be liable in court and forced to pay out of pocket when an employee gets injured.

However, prevention is still the better option. Thus, it is also essential to focus on risk mitigation at work. You can provide regular safety training for all employees, especially if you have employees operating machinery that can cause untoward accidents. Always emphasize the importance of exercise and adhering to safety protocols.

Have a Response Plan

Accidents can still happen no matter how much safety training you have at work. And you have to be ready when that happens. It is vital to have a response plan to give everyone a roadmap on how to respond to accidents quickly. Your plan should include:

  • Consent and claim forms for medical treatment
  • Forms containing explanations of medical benefits and vocational rehabilitation for each employee
  • A list of healthcare providers that accept your employees’ workers’ compensation coverage
  • A return-to-work form signed by a physician
  • The company’s light-duty policies
  • The employee’s job description

Immediate Response to Workplace Injury

At the first report of a workplace accident, employers or managers should follow the following steps:

  • Get your workers to a safe place. The injured worker should be moved from the potentially dangerous area, and everyone should be asked to stay clear. When moving the injured, do it carefully to avoid aggravating the injury. Call an ambulance to take the employee to the hospital.
  • While waiting for medical help, assess the situation and check the severity of the injury. Ask the other employee what caused the accident and ensure no one else was hurt. If it’s a minor injury, assist the employee and administer first aid.
  • Make sure to gather and keep evidence. Write down relevant details and witness testimony. Take pictures of the injuries for documentation. This will be important for filing workers’ compensation claims.

File a Workers’ Compensation Claim

As the employer or manager, you should help the employee file a workers’ compensation claim with the insurance company. Communicate openly with the injured employee, the physician, the insurance adjuster, and the insurance company. This will help you have a speedy claims process and ensure the employee gets the funds they need for their treatment.

Know What to Do When It Becomes a Lawsuit

Keeping an open line of communication is essential, even if the injured employee decides to sue the company. Make sure to share all relevant information with the lawyers and claim adjusters to speed up the settlement of the claim. It is better to settle as soon as possible to avoid drawn-out lawsuits that could be very costly.

Continuously Improve Workplace Safety

As they say, prevention is better than cure. Preventing workplace accidents is better than dealing with employees suffering an injury at work. Thus, as a manager, you should understand that avoiding accidents at work is an ongoing process. For this reason, you must continuously review and improve your company’s safety protocols and procedures. Make sure that your safety standards are practical and always up to date.