Certified Return Receipt Mail – Workers Comp CYA
The use of Certified Return Receipt Mail may seem out-of-date in the age of Facebook, Twitter, etc. However, when the chips are down, having that little green card in your Worker Comp file is like a stroll on the beach – very comforting.
This article began as one on subrogation and ended up covering more ground. I have often heard recently that emailing a Workers Comp form or letter is the same thing as mailing it. You may want to check that statement as having the recipient’s signature verifying receipt of a letter you mailed to them can be very helpful.
I decided to take a live picture of what one looks like and then send you with a link to the Postal Service on how to fill them out properly. The mistake most often made with Certified Return Receipt mail is not including your return address on the green postcard.
You may wish to read the US Postal Service’s pages on Certified Mail. The file is a PDF worth downloading and reading.
This information may sound juvenile. However, our file reviews show that very important documents are sent by claim staff with no way to prove the addressee received it. My local Postmaster said that Certified Return Receipt mail does not go through the system slower than any other First Class mail. Obtaining the receiver’s signature may take extra time. The green signature card is returned to the sender by First Class Mail.
Make sure that your claims processing manual or supervisor is OK with paying the $6+ in postage.
If the recipient refuses to sign the green return card, that is also noted by the Postal Service. The many uses for Workers Comp adjusting are (in my order of importance):
- Subrogation letters to another carrier or third party. Using Certified Mail can save you many headaches later if someone says, “I never received that letter.” The green signature card may be all you have to save the day later in a subrogation claim. This has saved me often.
- Workers comp forms – state mandated claim closure forms that do not require the recipients signature may be a good idea.
- A payment with a deadline – many adjusters have at one time had to pay a penalty and explain to their supervisor/manager and even worse- the insured or TPA client why there is a penalty assessed on the file for late payment (bad scene). Most states have increased the penalties for late settlement payments. Remember, the date they received it is critical, not when you made the payment.
- When a PO Box is involved – UPS and FedEx as a general rule do not deliver to PO Boxes. I made the mistake many years ago overnighting a check to a PO Box. I had a lot of explaining to do – see bad scene in #3.
- If another party involved says they did not receive something, you may want to send it Certified Return Receipt mail the second time. Unless you have a bad address, this quickly takes care of the situation.
- If someone has bad mail service – there are instances where someone may just not have good mail service to their address. We sometimes receive mail 15 – 21 days after it was mailed First Class in a neighboring state. The cheapest tracer is Certified Return Receipt Mail.
If you have sent Certified Mail, you can track the receipt number at the USPS website to see where it is in the mail system. The one negative on time management is the receipt must be stamped by a Postal Employee to be valid.
The Postal Service website is a little slow right now with the holiday mail.
Certified Return Receipt and First Class Mail are registered trademarks of the US Postal System, all rights reserved.
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