September 08, 2011
How and How Long to Retain Workers' Compensation Records

In an Employer Resource Institute webinar entitled "Human Resources Recordkeeping in California: Updates on Employee File-Management Requirements and the Golden Rules on Creation, Retention and Destruction," Amber M. Grayhorse, Esq., an associate in the Los Angeles office of Nossaman LLP, explained some of the options for maintaining Workers' Compensation records and the duration of time they should be retained.

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Workers' Compensation records are those that must be maintained by administrators and self-insured employers. There should be a claim file for each claim for work-related injury or illness, even if the claim is denied.

  • The forms can be maintained as hardcopy. They must be in chronological order with the most recent documents on top, or subdivided into sections (i.e., Medical Reports, Benefit Notices, Correspondence, Claim Notes and Vocational Rehabilitation).
  • Workers' Compensation documentation can be maintained electronically as well, but they must be easily retrievable.
  • All open Workers' Compensation claim files shall be maintained at the adjusting location responsible for administering the claim.

How long should you keep them? In general, keep all forms five years from the date of injury or date on which compensation benefits were last provided, whichever is later. Upon closure of a claim, the original paper claim file must be maintained at least two years thereafter.

Amber M. Grayhorse, Esq. is an associate in the Los Angeles office of Nossaman LLP ( Grayhorse has significant experience litigating employment disputes in state and federal courts, as well as in alternative dispute resolution forums. She also counsels employers on a wide range of issues, including handling employee disciplinary issues, responding to those alphabet agencies (such as the DFEH, EEOC, or the DOL), and creating and implementing policies.

Need help staying on top of critical HR and Compensation issues? See all the webinars BLR has to offer.

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