What is Lag Time?
Lag time is defined as the period of time between the date that the claim/injury/incident occurs and the date that the claim is reported to the Workers’ Compensation insurance company (the Trust). Delays in reporting claims to the carrier may impact the treatment received as well as affecting the ultimate cost of the claim.
What is the Lag Time Goal?
Claims should be reported to the Trust within 24 hours of occurrence.
What monetary impact does Lag Time have on our organization?
Workers’ Compensation costs increase each day a claim goes unreported. Some studies indicate that a week’s delay in reporting the injury to the carrier can increase the cost by 10%. Claims filed a month or more after an injury cost 48% more to settle than those reported in the first week. Other studies have shown that claims that are reported more than 24 hours from occurrence are 33% more costly. Studies also support conventional wisdom, the longer the reporting period, the higher the probability of litigation leading to higher costs. The National Council on Compensation Insurance (NCCI) study found that litigated claims cost 40% or more than non-litigated claims.
What are the additional benefits of reporting claims within 24 hours?
- Allows the Trust and your organization to establish a relationship with the injured worker early in the process to assure them the claim is being handled properly vs. wondering if they should contact an attorney to “help” represent their interests
- Ensures the injured worker receive their benefits quickly and accurately if the claim is compensable
- Enables your organization to get the injured employee back to work quicker
- Minimizes litigation and fraud
- Minimizes lost time
Resources available to assist members with managing lag time
- The Report Center located on www.wctrust.com includes a lag time report. Lag time can be tracked via individual claims; by lost time and medical cases or by yearly average.
Additional methods to reduce lag time
- Report all incidents including Record Only claims-these do not count as “claims” on your loss runs but will reduce the lag time should the claim turn into a treatable injury
- Clarify and include in new hire training
- Complete annual employee and supervisory training the reporting requirements
- Designate and assign responsibility to a person responsible for reporting all claims; ensure a back up is available, assigned and trained
- Train supervisors on Accident Investigation which includes same day reporting of claims
- Establish lag time goals, track results and hold managers responsible to achieve these goals