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Written by AskTheLawyers.com™ on behalf of Tyler D. Bailey, Esq. with Bailey Law Firm, L.L.C..
After a workplace injury, you might be eligible for workers’ compensation, commonly referred to as workers’ comp. Workers’ comp is designed to pay for any medical bills and lost wages which may occur due to a work injury or illness and protects the employer from liability, assuming negligence wasn’t involved.
However, many workers’ comp plans require injured workers to attend a medical clinic within their chosen network, so it’s a good idea to reach out to your HR (Human Resources) department with any questions regarding what medical clinic to visit. It’s also important to be aware of your interactions with medical staff. When talking to a doctor after a workplace injury, there may be specific elements of your situation you want to make sure to inform them of, or to possibly avoid sharing.
It’s important to keep in mind that a doctor within your employer’s workers’ comp network will need to assess your injury to approve its coverage under workers’ comp. Additionally, this doctor may be responsible for referring you to a specialist if you find yourself in need of further care. The doctor will also make decisions regarding how long your recovery should take, and what if any amount of work you may be able to perform during that time.
It’s important to tell your doctor about any potential injury you might have suffered, even if it is not outwardly visible. Some injuries can take days or even weeks to become symptomatic, so it’s important to have everything checked out in the first visit.
Don’t let your first interaction with your workers’ comp doctor be your last. Keep a record of your recovery, including any pain, potentially worsening injuries, and side effects of medication if applicable. You can then submit these records to your doctor for discussion. Not only does this ensure you receive the medical attention you need, but it can also serve as evidence if a workers’ comp hearing becomes necessary in the future.
Although it might be tempting to share your thoughts and feelings regarding the incident with your doctor, this may come back to bite you in the future. It’s a good idea to keep communication with your doctor highly professional and focused on the topic at hand; your injuries. Anything you say in the doctor’s office can go into your medical record and later be heard in court if problems arise regarding your claim. It’s a good idea to avoid talking about finances, insurance, or anything else which could lead others to question the legitimacy of your need for medical treatment.
Waiting to seek medical treatment for a workplace injury can actually have a negative effect on your workers’ comp claim further down the road. Don’t wait to report a new or worsened injury to your HR department, and take steps to visit with a doctor as soon as possible.
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