August 4, 2016 Leave a comment
Remember when you were a kid and adults told you it’s wrong to point fingers? That’s not always true. Take the workers’ comp world, for example.
Workers’ comp is no-fault insurance. That means if a claim is compensable, your insurance carrier will be there to make sure your injured employee gets the benefits they’re entitled to. That’s a promise financially strong carriers make and keep to their customers.
Sometimes, however, third parties contribute to workplace accidents. In those cases, your workers’ comp carrier might recover the costs of benefits from the responsible party through a legal process called subrogation.
What is subrogation?
Subrogation protects you from paying for someone else’s mistake. That’s because subrogation can have a positive impact on claim reserves and experience modifiers, both of which affect your premium.
Many insurance carriers assign subrogation to adjusters, whose primary job is administering benefits to injured workers. Texas Mutual employs a team of dedicated subrogation specialists. They spend the bulk of their time subrogating claims involving vehicles, products and premises.
Regardless of how your workers’ comp carrier handles subrogation, you can facilitate the process by following a few simple tips.
Your employee is making a delivery. Another driver, who is not one of your employees, rear-ends the vehicle your employee is driving. Your carrier may pursue the other driver’s auto insurance carrier to recover the costs of claim-related benefits.
Tip: Document the exact location of the accident, as well as the law enforcement agency that responded. This information will help your workers’ comp carrier locate the accident report.
A ladder breaks and injures your employee. Your accident investigation shows the employee was using the ladder correctly; however, the ladder was faulty. Your carrier may pursue the ladder’s manufacturer to recover the costs of claim-related benefits.
Tip: Documentation is critical to the subrogation process. Keep receipts and thorough maintenance records on ladders, vehicles, equipment and your facility. In addition, secure the ladder in case it is needed as evidence in the case.
An employee slips on a recently mopped floor at a customer’s workplace. There are no cones or signs warning pedestrians about the hazard. Your carrier may pursue the entity responsible for maintaining the customer’s premises to recover the costs of claim-related benefits.
Tip: Take photos of the area where the employee was injured, noting whether there were warning signs posted around the hazard. Get witness names, note the type of shoes the employee was wearing, and document the time of day and associated lighting conditions.