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What to tell your Doctor after a Workers' Compensation Injury

It is imperative to take the right steps when seeking medical treatment for an injury or illness that might be covered by Workers’ Compensation. Getting the appropriate care is not only important for your health and recovery, but it is also a great way of maximizing your Workers’ Compensation benefits and making sure that you are properly compensated for your injuries.

What should I do if I am injured?

Your first step when you are injured is to seek medical attention right away, even if the injury seems minor now. This means seeing a Doctor immediately after a work-related accident or at the first sign of any symptoms that might be due to your work duties or toxic exposure on the job. Seeking medical treatment has two distinct purposes: you are likely to recover from your injuries faster and secondly, the closer in time to your accident, the less it gives your employer or their insurance company to argue that your medical condition is not related to your work.

No matter what the situation is, you should resist the urge to ever tough it out or downplay any seriousness to your injuries. This can delay or impede your recover and it definitely affects the scope of treatment authorized by Workers’ Compensation or the amount of benefits you ultimately receive in the end.

Do I just go to any ER for treatment straight away?

The obvious choice for any serious, life-threatening injury is to call an ambulance, but for those other injuries such as a strain of muscle, or a cut, you should just go to the nearest emergency room. If it is not an emergency; however, the first step is to immediately tell a supervisor and see what they say. Some suggest going to the ER whereas others suggest following up with your Primary Care Doctor. Whatever the suggestion is, always seek medical treatment. The most successful cases are the ones where the employee/injured worker seeks treatment immediately.

Well, what should I tell my Doctor?

Even with advancements in the medical fields, Doctors still rely on patients to report symptoms, severity of pain, and activities that prove difficult for them. This is especially vital in soft tissue injuries: these injuries do not involve bones and often cannot be verified through medical imaging such as an X-Ray. It is especially important for you to communicate with your Doctor about what you are feeling and in doing so, you should always follow these guidelines:

·        Be honest and accurate. Describe every symptom to your Doctor truthfully. Do not exaggerate anything, but make sure not to downplay your symptoms either. An experienced Doctor will know when you are telling the truth or not.

·        Tell every symptom, even the minor ones, as your Doctor is the expert and you should let him/her decide what is important. A symptom that may be minor now, can always develop into a serious problem in weeks or months down the road.

·        Do not speculate. If you do not know the answer to a question the Doctor asks, just tell them that. Never guess what the cause of the injury was, simply state facts and how you feel. And never say you have fully recovered unless you are positive that is the case.

How will they bill me?

Your employer is required to pay for your medical bills until a decision has been made to accept or deny your claim. If your claim is approved, your employer will continue to pay for your medical treatment. If it is denied, you can turn your bills into your personal insurance and continue treating and seek reimbursement from the insurance company when the denial is overturned on appeal.

The important factor in this process is making sure you are covered under an experienced attorney, such as Larry D. Ashlock. Your lawyer can back your case up with evidence and prove the Workers’ Compensation injury through settlement and court. Another reason having an attorney on your side is important, is when the insurance company denies your claim. The next step is to immediately file to get you the money you deserve.

Originally Published on Monday, September 24, 2018