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Claims handlers can take several steps to have positive communication with workers compensation claimants, ultimately improving claim outcomes, said Dr. Glenn Pransky, director of the Center for Disability Research at the Liberty Mutual Research Institute for Safety in Hopkinton, Massachusetts.
Dr. Pransky presented findings from a 2006 study from the Toronto-based Institute for Work & Health last month during the Workers Compensation Research Institute Annual Issues & Research Conference in Boston.
The study advised listening to claimants with empathy, giving injured workers a detailed explanation of the workers comp process to reduce their uncertainty and making check-in calls, when appropriate, to see how the injured worker is doing, Dr. Pransky said.
Early discussions about return to work also should be approached carefully and gradually with injured workers to decrease resistance to the idea of going back to their job after an accident, Dr. Pransky said.
Workers compensation experts say that trust in the workplace and early positive communication between injured workers and their employers or claims handlers can play a crucial role in reducing the time it takes a claimant to return to work, as well as keeping comp claim costs in check.