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Workers Who Are Unfit or Unwell Can Complicate Workers Comp Claims

Operating an auto body shop is a physically demanding business, from the first car of the day that’s lifted on the hoist to the last car of the day that a worker has to crawl beneath. Injuries that occur on the job can happen at a moment’s notice—and when they do, other medical issues that are already present in the injured employee (such as diabetes, obesity, smoking-related illnesses, or otherwise poor physical health) can make for a lengthier and more difficult recovery, and result in a more costly vehicle repair workers compensation claim. This is particularly true in cases where the worker has sustained a severe injury that requires surgery. For example, Mike at The Body Shop suffered a herniated disc when he slipped on a puddle of oil and took a hard fall on concrete. What’s complicating the matter is Mike’s fondness for chili cheese fries and deep-fried anything has him tipping the scales at close to 400 pounds, and the surgeon requires Mike to lose at least 75 pounds before he will operate on the herniated disc—a requirement that could easily add several months of temporary disability and doctor visits (not to mention tens of thousands of dollars) to the insurance claim. In most cases, a worker’s preexisting condition (such as Mike’s existing morbid obesity) does not exempt the employer from the requirement to cover the cost of medical care for the injury and offer insurance benefits until either the employee can return to work or the maximum benefits are exhausted. To minimize complications like these, it’s important to adopt a wellness program at work and establish incentives to engage workers to take part in the program. Bottom line, employees who are in better health overall result in fewer health insurance claims and fewer vehicle repair workers compensation claims as well, which leaves more money in the business owner’s pocket. Talk to a professional insurance agent today about how a wellness program can reap physical and financial rewards for your shop.