If you have been hurt at work, you should seek medical treatment as soon as possible. This is true even if you think your injury is minor. Some minor injuries end up causing long-term problems, and getting a medical opinion immediately can help you recover faster and can also help your workers’ compensation case. Going to the doctor right away can help your case if your employer tries to argue that your injury is not work-related.
If you are unsure of how to get medical treatment after a work-related injury, your employer should be able to point you in the right direction. If your employer is not helpful, it may be time to involve a workers’ compensation attorney.
How Do I Get Treatment?
If you have been seriously injured, you should get the emergency room immediately. Your health is too important to delay treatment for workers’ compensation purposes.
For other non-emergency situations, your state likely has a process that you should use to get treatment. In Massachusetts, for example, your employer will choose which doctor to send you to for your first visit. You can likely change doctors later, but you should follow employer instructions to begin the process.
In Rhode Island, you can choose your first treating doctor, and some employees choose to go to their regular treating physician first. This may or may not be in your best interest, so talk to a workers’ compensation lawyer about his or her recommendations for choosing a medical care provider first. You may be able to change doctors later, but your employer may limit your choices.
New Hampshire also allows you to choose your doctor first in most circumstances. Some employers have a “managed care” system, which limits the doctors that you can see. In those systems, your employer will have a list of approved doctors, and you can choose your care provider from that list.
Regardless of how you see a doctor, you should be sure to mention to the doctor or his or her staff that your injury is work-related and that the workers’ compensation program will likely be involved. This will help with the billing process and help with your claim down the road.
Speaking with Your Doctor
Your doctor will make vital conclusions regarding your health and treatment that will affect your workers’ compensation case. This might include how much time you should be off work, whether your injuries are work-related, and whether your condition will improve any more.
It is important to be honest with your doctor about your symptoms and conditions. They rely on your description of your injuries to make a diagnosis and recommend further treatment. Be sure that you tell your doctor every symptom, even if you think it is minor. Do not exaggerate or downplay your symptoms. Be as honest and straight-forward as possible. Your doctor is an expert, and he or she will be able to tell if you are not honest about your work-related injuries.
Working with the requirements of workers’ compensation treatment can be difficult, but an experienced workers’ compensation attorney can help. Do not delay treatment because you are unsure or confused— contact Jim Glaser Law today.