Imagine getting into a fender bender and going through the process of working with your insurance adjuster to get your car repaired. After a period of time you get a call from your adjuster letting you know that the body shop has finished the repair and your car is ready for pick up. Instead of saying, “Ok, I’ll go get it”, you say, “I’ve decided I don’t want my car back….it was a bad purchase”. Now imagine your adjuster saying, “Oh, ok” and just like that, you have relieved yourself from all the debt and liability associated with your vehicle. You’re free to go find a newer and presumably, better vehicle. That definitely requires a good imagination because it has never, and will never, happen.

Wait! It does happen. Not in auto insurance but it definitely does in workers’ compensation insurance. Every day, across the country, adjusters notify employers that their injured worker has a limited work capacity. A small percentage of those employers will tell their adjusters, “sorry, we’re going to terminate her employment, she was a bad hire anyway” and the insurance adjuster for the most part must accept that answer, set up a TTD pay schedule and re-diary the claim to a later date. That claim is about to get expensive for the insurance company.

Why is that type of employer behavior accepted? The ADA/AA reads that if the employer has more than 15 employees, it can’t legally terminate the employee unless the employer has documented that there are no reasonable accommodations that would allow the worker to return. Yet, even with Federal law barring that practice, it continues to happen, every day. Why doesn’t the workers compensation insurance carrier make it a condition of the policy that “an employer cannot terminate an injured worker within 120 days of losing time from work for a work related injury.”?

Workers’ compensation insurance is a no fault insurance which absolves the employer of liability (barring gross negligence) while attempting to make an injured worker whole. It’s not a “bad hire” insurance policy enabling employers to evade good HR practices to terminate “bad hires” that were injured at work.

Most of the policy holders we interact with through our customer partners understand the purpose of Workers Compensation insurance, however some do require a gentle reminder about what it’s not, coupled with a little education on the true costs of choosing to terminate. Typically, that is all that’s necessary to obtain employer cooperation in attempting to return that injured worker to the job.

I have to go pick up my car at the body shop.