When you own and operate a small business, you must provide for the safety and comfort of your employees. There is always the risk that an employee will sustain an injury while performing a job-related task, and your company must be prepared to pay for these injuries through workers compensation claims.
If you are tempted to provide payment directly to an employee for a minor injury rather than going through the hassle of filing a formal workers compensation claim, it's important that you consider the negative legal ramifications this decision could have on your business in the future.
Here are two reasons why you shouldn't self-pay for small workers compensation claims.
1. Small injuries could grow worse due to complications.
In order to ensure that your financial resources are protected in the event of an employee injury, it's best to follow protocol and have the injured employee file a workers compensation claim.
Although the cost of medical treatment for a minor injury might seem minimal, a small injury could turn into a larger health problem at any time. Infection or other complications could drastically increase the cost of the medical care required for your injured employee to make a full recovery. If you opt to self-pay for the initial treatment, your workers compensation insurance might not pay out for a claim filed when the initial injury worsens.
Avoid potential financial complications by filing workers compensation claims for all injuries your employees might sustain in the future—no matter how minor they may seem.
2. Failing to report injuries could be illegal.
It's important for small business owners to comply with all legal rules and regulations in order to remain in good standing. When you make the choice to self-pay for the minor injuries your employees may sustain, you could be violating the law in your state.
Many states require that employers report any and all work-related accidents that result in the need for medical care to their insurance company through the filing of a written workers compensation claim. Opting to self-pay could leave you and your company vulnerable to costly lawsuits that could personally bankrupt you and put your company out of business.
Be sure that you consult with an attorney to determine if self-pay is putting your company at risk of violating the law.
Not self-paying when an employee needs to be compensated for medical care required to treat a work-related injury will help you avoid paying future medical expenses out-of-pocket and prevent you from violating state laws requiring you to file workers compensation claims for all on-the-job injuries.