Workers Comp Audit Stress Reducer
Use It For Your Next Premium Audit

Workers Comp Documents Top Six Best Read on Paper – With Bonus


Workers Comp Documents – Paper Is Best In These Instances

Many Workers Comp documents can be left as PDFs in a computer file.   Some documents read better on paper.   This article came about due to the article from two weeks ago on paper files in the age of the small screen.

picture of workers comp documents book folded to look like a heart
Public Use License – Wikimedia – Icely88

Most of these go well with a highlighter on paper.  If you cannot stand reading anything on paper, you may be missing some important points.  Why?  We all read so many documents on a screen all day that we tend to rush over the top of them.


A policy and a highlighter can be your best tools for generating questions and possible savings.   Workers Comp policies remain one of the better workers comp documents to print.  Almost all policies were designed back in the time where everything was on paper.   I had written on this subject a few times over the years.  Follow the links to see those articles.   You should always have a paper copy of your business policies of all types at your fingertips.

Rating Bureau Information or LDF For Self Insureds

We receive at least 2 – 3 calls per week on these often misunderstood Workers Comp rating documents.   Rating  Bureaus (NCCI, WCIRB, and others) have designed the documents to be more readable in the past few years.   California’s WCIRB has completely redesigned their rating sheets.

Rating bureaus can and often do make changes to your Experience Modification Factor for your current, present, and future E-Mods (X-Mods).   Filing them away can cost big $$ if you find a past mistake.

Endorsements – very critical 

Huge Workers Comp Documents Files
Wikimedia Commons – The National Archives U.K

Business owners, risk managers, and other company personnel are sometimes inundated with policy changes on any insurance policy.  That is the nature of insurance.  An endorsement can change any policy including your original policy Workers Comp documents.   Those endorsements should not be just filed away.   Your agent will be glad to discuss them with you on receipt.

Policy endorsements should be read and kept in a quickly accessible paper file.

Premium Audits Including Auditor Workpapers 

Premium audit articles are very numerous on this website.  See this premium audit search.  As mentioned earlier, these are usually in PDF files.  Many business owners and risk managers have remarked to me that going over the very important workers comp documents on paper was beyond critical to their Workers Comp budget.

First Reports of Injury 

Most carriers and Third Party Administrators require the First Reports of Injury (FROI) to be filed online.  Many now even charge extra fees if an employer files a 1st report on paper.

One concern here is the slowness of inputting your company’s injury report into the system.   The first 48 hours set the tone and risk for the rest of the claim.   <<<Yes, but you said this article concerns paper files.

Printing out a copy of the 1st report still remains an important task.   Most insurance carriers and TPA’s systems allow for printing the document.  How FROI’s look on the screen and paper can be very different.

I recommend printing it out and reviewing it very carefully before submitting it to eliminate mistakes.   No one workers comp document can be more detrimental to your workers comp program than an inaccurate FROI.

All Workers Comp Industrial Commission or Court Mail Including Forms 

I added this one in as we had two clients within the last six months that were never notified that a very important hearing or mediation was occurring in the upcoming month.

One client completely missed the hearing.   The Industrial Commission had sent them a file with 90+ pages of hearings on the document.   The hearing notice was somewhere in those 90+ pages.

A mediation does not call for the employer to attend but instead an employer’s representative (claims adjuster and the defense attorney).  However, mediation may be a good time for the employer to attend the proceeding.   If settlement authority is needed from the employer, they are already on site instead of bouncing phone calls, texts, and emails back and forth.

Picture of Workers Comp Documents Files
by StockUnlimited

Bonus – Claim Notes and Reserving 

This method remains an old trick used by file reviewers for many years.   Many processes happen in the workers comp file all at the same time.  Even if the claim notes in the workers comp document is separated into different computer file sections, following a train of thought or even a simple form can be tedious at best.

An example –

A workers comp agreement to pay benefits may take two to three months to have it signed by the employer, adjuster, employee (and attorney if they have one), and then filed with the Workers Comp Commission.

Now some adjuster-types will now comment – Hey we have a section on the forms in our system.   Yes, but what if there were complications getting the form signed or having the proper amounts on the agreement, etc.    I have not seen the associated notes in a Forms section, only the scanned forms at each step of the process. 

If an agreement to compensation notes appears on pages 11, 23, 45, 67, 110, 130, etc., how does one track that?  Printed workers comp documents/notes can be reshuffled, not online ones to see the agreement to compensation flow through the file.

PDF Files For Storage 

Mobility means everything nowadays.    If you have to read documents while on the road, then PDFs remain the best file storage.   However, I just flew to California and back with a brown folder with 900 pages in it for review as an expert witness.   Airlines have never counted the brown folder as a carry-on.

The bottom line is that reviewing documents on paper equals “another set” of eyes even though they are still your own.  Let me know (I am curious) how you handle your important workers comp documents.


©J&L Risk Management Inc Copyright Notice


2 Responses


James J Moore - Workers Comp Expert

Raleigh, NC, United States

About The Author...

James founded a Workers’ Compensation consulting firm, J&L Risk Management Consultants, Inc. in 1996. J&L’s mission is to reduce our clients’ Workers Compensation premiums by using time-tested techniques. J&L’s claims, premium, reserve and Experience Mod reviews have saved employers over $9.8 million in earned premiums over the last three years. J&L has saved numerous companies from bankruptcy proceedings as a result of insurance overpayments.

James has over 27 years of experience in insurance claims, audit, and underwriting, specializing in Workers’ Compensation. He has supervised, and managed the administration of Workers’ Compensation claims, and underwriting in over 45 states. His professional experience includes being the Director of Risk Management for the North Carolina School Boards Association. He created a very successful Workers’ Compensation Injury Rehabilitation Unit for school personnel.

James’s educational background, which centered on computer technology, culminated in earning a Masters of Business Administration (MBA); an Associate in Claims designation (AIC); and an Associate in Risk Management designation (ARM). He is a Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC) and a licensed financial advisor. The NC Department of Insurance has certified him as an insurance instructor. He also possesses a Bachelors’ Degree in Actuarial Science.

LexisNexis has twice recognized his blog as one of the Top 25 Blogs on Workers’ Compensation. J&L has been listed in AM Best’s Preferred Providers Directory for Insurance Experts – Workers Compensation for over eight years. He recently won the prestigious Baucom Shine Lifetime Achievement Award for his volunteer contributions to the area of risk management and safety. James was recently named as an instructor for the prestigious Insurance Academy.

James is on the Board of Directors and Treasurer of the North Carolina Mid-State Safety Council. He has published two manuals on Workers’ Compensation and three different claims processing manuals. He has also written and has been quoted in numerous articles on reducing Workers’ Compensation costs for public and private employers. James publishes a weekly newsletter with 7,000 readers.

He currently possess press credentials and am invited to various national Workers Compensation conferences as a reporter.

James’s articles or interviews on Workers’ Compensation have appeared in the following publications or websites:

  • Risk and Insurance Management Society (RIMS)
  • Entrepreneur Magazine
  • Bloomberg Business News
  • WorkCompCentral.com
  • Claims Magazine
  • Risk & Insurance Magazine
  • Insurance Journal
  • Workers Compensation.com
  • LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and other social media sites
  • Various trade publications


Get the latest workers' comp news FREE!

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.