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Industry Insights

Moore: Slip and Fall in Restaurant

  • State: North Carolina
  • -  0 shares

Over the July 4 weekend, I decided to visit a local restaurant that survived the pandemic. Who knew that a workers' comp accident would happen right in front of me?

James Moore

James Moore

The server decided to carry too many plates to a table. The next thing I knew, he was lying on the floor on his back. Witnessing the fall was not my idea of a way to begin ordering food.

What the restaurant did right

The young server struggled to his feet. The manager had a packet provided by an insurer. This means the restaurant had insurance. In North Carolina, up to 30,000 employers — if they survived the pandemic — do not have coverage (the article was from nine years ago. I am not sure the numbers have improved since that time).

I offered to help but was politely rebuffed by the manager on duty. The manager wanted to handle the workers' comp accident situation and read from the packet what to do.  She was owning the situation, which was a positive sign.

The injured employee was more embarrassed than hurt. The manager sat the employee down, filled out the appropriate paperwork, then sent him to a local medical provider for treatment. He was in some pain at the time.

The young man left to see the medical practitioner, likely a walk-in clinic, as it was on a Saturday in a small local town.

What the restaurant did wrong

The only on-scene negative occurrence was that possibly the server could have been severely hurt. Eight plates of food and his back hit the floor first. I am not so sure he should have been helped up to his feet.

Even though the restaurant was hopping at lunchtime, the one thing I noticed was the employee was left to his own device to get to the physician’s office. Having someone take him may have made sure of two things for this workers' comp accident:

  • He would treat where the employer had directed him to obtain treatment.
  • He would actually seek treatment, not just go home.

The manager did not (from what I could tell) call the provider before the employee arrived for treatment.

There are three walk-in clinics in the area open on Saturday. What if he decides to treat at an alternate clinic? North Carolina is a state with medical control/employer-directed treatment.

From the North Carolina Industrial Commission's employer information page: The employer or its insurance company, subject to any commission orders, provides and directs medical treatment.

Six keys on the workers' comp accident checklist 

Let us look at the Six Keys For Saving on Workers' Comp as a checklist to see if the restaurant performed well with a Saturday accident.

  • ASAP first reports: From what I could tell, the manager faxed the first report of injury to the carrier.
  • Medical control: This one was 50% finished; having someone go with the injured employee to the clinic may have been the best method. The restaurant was so busy that it was understandable if no employee was available to go with him. The manager may have called ahead or after the appointment.
  • Return to work: I would not see a problem here. The manager was a very caring person at the scene. I doubt the restaurant would terminate his employment, as servers are hard to find post-pandemic.
  • Employee treatment by employer: This key was covered well by the manager. You could tell that she was trusted and cared for her employees.
  • Program acceptance by management: The manager obviously knew that there was a method and manual in place to handle accidents. She followed it line by line. The carrier-provided material was crucial.
  • Understanding the premium audit: N/A for now.

Overall, the manager handled the workers' comp accident well. She knew to pull out a folder and go through it line by line. If the injured employee treated at the right clinic, then all was well.

This blog post is provided by James Moore, AIC, MBA, ChFC, ARM, and is republished with permission from J&L Risk Management Consultants. Visit the full website at www.cutcompcosts.com.

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