First Report is Key to Comp Claims

The key to managing workers' compensation claims is getting a detailed and accurate first report of the accident and sticking with it, says an attorney familiar with workers' compensation litigation and claims.

"The first report is the best report," said Dan Schwartz, an attorney who litigates claims for Nevada Contractors Insurance, the second largest workers' comp carrier in the state of Nevada.

Nevada Contractors Insurance held a seminar about workers' compensation claims management for human resource professionals, foremen and supervisors at the Palace Station Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas recently. One of the topics discussed was spotting suspicious claims, and Schwartz said that the first report of the accident is one of the best tools to fight fraud.

"That's the report made when the accident occurred. That's the report made by the injured worker, the foreman, the supervisor and any witnesses," Schwartz said. "It's by far the best report you have to work with."

Nevada law requires a report to be filled out by the employer in the wake of an occupational injury. The "C-3" form is mandated by law, and asks employers when, where and how the accident happened. Such information can be crucial in determining whether or not a claim is legitimate.

Schwartz said that when an injured worker changes his story, it should be considered a "red flag" by employers. It's almost a matter of common sense, according to Schwartz.

"If you go to work and get hurt, you remember it," Schwartz said. "If you have a broken arm, you know how you got it. When someone starts changing their story, or doesn't remember how the accident took place or what he was doing at the time, that's suspicious."

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