How Much Is the Lag Reporting in Workers’ Comp Costing You? The First Report of Injury


Lag reporting in Workers’ Compensation can have significant costs for employers. The “lag” refers to the time between when a workplace injury occurs and when it’s reported to the Workers’ Compensation carrier. The First Notice of Loss Report (FNOL) is the initial report filed when an employee suffers a work-related injury or illness and typically includes the following:

  • Employee information: Includes name, contact information, job title, and Social Security number. 
  • Employer information: Includes company name, address, and contact details. 
  • Injury details: Includes specific information about the injury or illness, such as the date, time, and location of the incident, a description of how the incident occurred, and the body parts affected. This information helps determine the cause and nature of the injury or illness.
  • Medical treatment: Includes details about any medical treatment received by the injured employee.
  • Witnesses and other relevant information: If there were any witnesses to the incident, their names and contact information may be included in this section. Additionally, any other relevant information, such as previous injuries or preexisting conditions, may be documented to provide a comprehensive overview.
  • Any other jurisdictional requirements.

At Nixer Comp, we recommend that all incidents be reported within 24 hours. 

The Impact of Reporting Injuries Late

Following are a few ways in which lag reporting can be costly:

Increased Medical Costs 

Delayed reporting can result in delayed medical treatment for the injured worker. This delay can lead to the worsening of the injury and the need for more extensive medical intervention. Consequently, the costs of medical treatment and rehabilitation can increase significantly.

Higher Overall Claims Costs

Data from studies performed by Hartford Insurance Company show that loss costs for claims reported within one week are 8% higher than those reported on the incident day. In addition, loss costs for claims reported after one month are 37% higher than those reported on the incident day.

Research by the National Council on Compensation Insurance (NCCI) demonstrated that delayed injury reporting can increase Workers’ Comp claims costs by up to 51%. 

Legal Penalties

Failing to report workplace injuries promptly can lead to legal penalties imposed by regulatory bodies. These penalties can include fines and other sanctions, which can add to the overall cost burden.

Increased Likelihood of Litigation

Data shows a significant link between lag time and a claim’s likelihood to be litigated. According to NCCI data, attorneys were involved in 12.8% of comp claims submitted on the day of an accident but increased to 31.7% for claims made four weeks after the incident or later. Early reporting allows employers to help injured workers understand the process, such as how they will receive medical care and wage replacement payments, and alleviate fears that could lead them to hire an attorney.

Lost Productivity

When an employee is injured, there is often a period of time during which they are unable to work or perform their regular job duties. Delayed reporting can prolong the lost productivity period, impacting the workforce’s efficiency and output. This can result in additional costs due to decreased productivity and the need for temporary replacement workers.

Reduce Lag Reporting Time

  • Establish clear reporting procedures for employees to follow in the event of a workplace injury or illness. Ensure that all employees know these procedures, whom to notify, and how to do so. 
  • Train employees on reporting requirements for workplace injuries or illnesses as well as supervisors who are in direct control of employees on what to do when an accident occurs. Educate employees on the importance of timely reporting, the information they need to provide, and the reporting channels available.
  • Streamline reporting by providing multiple reporting channels for employees, such as online reporting portals, dedicated phone lines, or designated personnel who can assist in the reporting process. Make sure these channels are easily accessible and well communicated to all employees. 

Nixer Comp provides staffing companies with a Claims Kit that includes Host-Employer Claims Handling Instructions. The kit includes contact information, OSHA – Reporting Requirements, Incident & Accident Triage Instructions, Host-Employer Accident Investigation Instructions, Host-Employer Incident & Accident Investigation Report, and a Witness Incident & Accident Report. We also provide staffing firms with access to a Claims Portal to track and manage Workers’ Compensation claims. 

  • Encourage immediate reporting by emphasizing the importance of reporting injuries or illnesses as soon as they occur (within 24 hours). Encourage employees to report even minor incidents promptly, as seemingly small injuries can sometimes develop into more significant issues later.
  • Provide reporting resources to employees. This can include providing injury reporting forms, instructions, and contact information for relevant personnel or Workers’ Compensation carriers. Nixer Comp provides staffing companies with a Claims Reporting Wallet Card
  • Conduct regular safety training to educate employees on safe work practices and injury prevention. By minimizing the occurrence of workplace injuries, the need for incident reporting and associated lag time will be reduced.