Immediate Actions to Take During an Incident
When an accident occurs within your business, you need to take immediate action. The reason why you need to take immediate action is because that will make the claims process go much faster for anyone. But first, you have to have a procedure in place to ensure that accidents are handled properly.
The reason why a protocol is needed rather than relying on common sense is because an accident occurring within the business is a very nervous situation. Even those who have the most common sense can miss details because they are panicked, so having a protocol in place will help ensure a smooth process.
Your protocol should consist of this: The moment an accident occurs, start asking questions. Get the names of individuals, see if there are any surveillance cameras in the area, if you have any, and look for the hazard in the area that caused the accident. Make sure you have a form that you can record this information on.
By having a universal form that all of your staff can use, information can be kept organized and it can be consistent. All of the qualifying questions can be answered. The first step should be to visually sweep the scene. Make sure no one leaves and identify the hazard before it could be tampered with.
You may also want to keep a camera in an easily accessible area so that pictures can be taken of the accident scene. If it was a slip and fall accident, you can take a picture, and then someone can clean it up so that there is not a repeat. Doing this will also help you to train your staff about the hazards that exist and how to prevent them.
You also want to have an accident report form that the injured can fill out, if they can. If they can't, you can ask questions so that you know exactly what happened and how it happened. When you talk to any witnesses, they will either tell the same story or you could get a different story. This is one of the reasons why the insurance company will need to have the names and contact information of witnesses.
You will also need to document whether or not the injured requested medical attention. You can ask them if they want medical attention, but they have the right to decline. If they decline, it does not help their injury case, depending on how much proof they have.
Contacting the Insurance Company
When you have gathered all of the details, you will then want to call the insurance company. You don't want to wait until the injured individual is having legal papers sent to you. It is good to give the insurance company a warning as to what may occur. From there, there may or may not be action against you. If a person's injury resulted in medical expenses, however, you can expect to receive something wanting reimbursement for those medical costs.
If you do receive documentation that a claim is being filed against you, you will once again have to call the insurance company to let them know the papers arrived. They will want those papers faxed to them so that they can add them to all of the information that you have provided in advance. They will then begin acting on your behalf.
There may or may not be a valid claim in place. If so, the insurance company will go ahead and pay the damages. If there isn't, then they don't have to pay anything at all. It is possible that the case could go to court, but the goal is for it not to. Knowing the immediate actions to take during an incident will help streamline the process of claims resolution.