1. What is the Form LS-202, and when is it used?
The Form LS-202, also known as the Employer’s First Report of Injury or Occupational Illness. Under Section 30(a) of the Act, an employer must file a report within 10 days of the date of any injury which causes loss of one or more shifts of work, or death (or from the date that the employer has knowledge of a disease, or infection as a result of such injury).
2. Does a copy of the injury report need to be filed with the U.S. Department of Labor?
Unless an employer is an ALMA member, they must submit the LS-202 to both their USL&H provider and the Department of Labor.
ALMA members have two options. First, members can report incidents to AEU via our claims platform, Origami. If the incident is elevated to a claim, the LS-202 will be created and sent directly to the DOL. Secondly, the member can submit the LS-202 directly to AEU. We will create an incident/claim for you and the and send the LS-202 directly to the Department of Labor the following business day. Claims should be reported to AEU as soon as possible, but no later than seven days following the work event.
2a. What is the difference between an incident and a claim?
For ALMA members, all new accidents/losses are entered as incidents in Origami. An incident will not become a claim unless there is medical treatment more than first aid, loss of time from work, or legal involvement. Incidents will not appear on AEU loss runs.
3. Should an employer wait to verify information before submitting the LS-202?
No. An employer should not wait to verify every aspect of the incident or complete an investigation. It is more important to report the injury in a timely manner to avoid penalties and ensure that your USL&H provider has ample time to begin their process.
Remember that the Form LS-202 is not “evidence or an admission of liability” of any fact stated in the report. The employer can describe reported events as “alleged or supposed” if they wish.
4. Why does the LS-202 have to be submitted so quickly?
Timely submission of the LS-202 is critical to the claims handling process. The statute of limitations for filing a claim does not begin to run until the employer files the Form LS-202. If the employer never files the form, the claim filing time requirement never begins to run. This means that a claim on an injury could be filed at any time – even many years later after the incident and the employer would be left without a key, viable defense.
5. What is the “OWCP No.” (box 1) and what is the “Carrier’s No.” (box 2) on the Form LS-202?
The OWCP No. is a claim number given by the Department of Labor. Your USL&H provider will assign a Carrier No. Employers may disregard box 1 and box 2 when completing the Form LS-202.
6. What if the injury is minor and the employer would prefer to pay the associated medical bill instead of filing a claim (also known as an “unrecordable”)?
While we encourage employers to report all incidents, it is imperative that ALMA members report any incident that meets the requirement of a claim (see question two above). This is for the employers’ protection. For more insight into why it’s so important to file claims, even for minor injuries, read our blog on this topic.
7. If an employer reports a minor injury, will that tarnish their claims record?
Employers often consider the following to constitute “minor” injuries and may question whether they should report it for fear of blemishing their injury record:
- The employee declines medical treatment.
- The employee requires on-site first-aid treatment.
- The employee underwent a single medical visit and was discharged from medical care and returned to full-duty without issue.
For ALMA members, in instances such as the first two bullets, these will remain as incidents in our database and no reserves are placed on the file. It does not count against the employer, nor appear on a loss run. Underwriters do see value in this practice. If an employee requires further medical treatment later or alleges additional injuries, the claim handling process is expedited due to the original documentation.
Check with your carrier for specifics on how they classify claims without medical treatment.
Safety sidebar: Regardless of injury severity, a root-cause analysis should always be conducted to identify causal factors and generate corrective actions. This should lead to a discussion on lessons learned which can be applied to safety training and improve overall safety performance.
8. If a claimant has a pre-existing condition, and their claim is related to that condition, is the employer responsible for the claim? What can employers do to combat the issue of pre-existing conditions?
Pursuant to the aggravation doctrine, if a pre-existing condition is aggravated beyond a natural progression, the employer/carrier is responsible for the entire resulting disability.
A post-offer medical evaluation can provide employers with information that helps them to place employees in appropriate jobs, incorporate accommodations, or disqualify an individual from a job altogether.
For more guidance on reporting claims and handling employee injuries, visit the AEU claims resources page on our website.
This article originally appeared in the Longshore Insider on February 25, 2019.