If you have been hurt at work, your employer should help pay for the treatment of your injury with worker’s compensation. In order to receive worker’s compensation, you will need your doctor to verify that your injury was caused by work. This should be easy, but sometimes workers find that doctors seem reluctant to provide the appropriate care and conform to insurance adjusters that your injury was work-related. If the insurance doctor says your injury is not work-related or you are concerned they might follow these tips.
Consider which doctor you see
The doctor that you receive treatment from during a worker’s compensation claim will vary based on your state. In some states, you can seek treatment from the doctor of your choice. If you are able to see your own doctor, who knows you and your medical history firsthand, you will probably have fewer concerns that the doctor might misdiagnose the cause of your injury. However, some states require you to get treatment from a doctor approved by your company, often referred to as an Independent Medical Examiner. An Independent Medical Examiner sees a large number of patients seeking worker’s compensation and might even have a business relationship with the insurance company. Many workers worry that these doctors care more about pleasing the insurance company than giving appropriate medical care. Particularly in the case of a repetitive trauma injury, it is possible that the doctor will diagnose a degenerative injury and not connect it to strain in the workplace as the underlying cause of the degeneration. If you are concerned that you are not getting effective medical care from the company-approved doctor, inform your lawyer immediately. You deserve to receive proper medical care, and your lawyer will be able to support you in requesting a second opinion or another avenue of care.
In life, just like in football, the best offense is a good defense. During a worker’s compensation claim, documentation is your strongest defense. There is no downside to keeping detailed, accurate records of your injury and what happens in the course of your worker’s compensation claim. You can provide this information to your doctor to give them additional context for your injury and how it was caused by work. Especially if you are concerned that your doctor may not be providing you the appropriate care, continue to make notes about your experiences and your injuries and provide the written record to both your doctor and your lawyer. For example, if the doctor diagnoses your injury as arthritis or some other non-work related injury, you may want to provide written notes to them detailing how your pain began at work and you have not experienced any other injury to the area outside of work. Should it become necessary to escalate matters legally, this documentation could be instrumental in helping defend your rights.
Follow all doctor’s orders
If you do receive medical directions from a doctor, it is important that you follow them all very closely. Ask the doctor to provide you with a list of any work-related activities they advise against you doing until you are fully recovered. When you have this list, keep a copy for yourself and provide a copy to your supervisor so they are aware of what restrictions have been placed on your work to protect your health. If you do not follow your doctor’s advice, you could make yourself ineligible to receive worker’s compensation. The insurance company will argue that you chose to remain injured by not receiving proper care.
Worker’s compensation was put in place to protect workers who are injured on the job. If you have suffered an injury at work, you deserve to receive the care that is owed to you. As soon as you become aware of an injury, start documenting how you feel and what has occurred, who you have discussed the injury with, and anything else that could be related to your treatment. This documentation could be critical in ensuring that you get the treatment you need if you do need to pursue it in court. If you believe that a doctor has incorrectly diagnosed your injury as unrelated to work, you need an attorney with expertise in worker’s compensation claims and a passion for helping workers receive the payment and treatment they are entitled to. An experienced Atlanta workers’ compensation attorney will be able to advocate for you to receive better treatment and care from an impartial doctor.