Palm Beach Gardens Workers Compensation Lawyer
When an on the job injury happens to you, an accident lawyer may tell you to immediately seek medical attention, but an experienced workers’ compensation attorney will tell you that you can’t just see any doctor if you want to secure workers’ compensation benefits.
After being hurt at work, your employer is supposed to send you to the hospital or a walk-in clinic. However, if you decline treatment with a work comp provider in favor of obtaining medical care on your own, you may face several problems.
The first problem when seeking care with your own doctor, rather than with a workers’ compensation doctor, is that your health insurance will not pay for medical care caused by a workplace accident. A work injury compensation lawyer will explain that when you provide your initial history on the intake forms, or when the nurse or physician’s assistant asks what happened, you will have to tell them you were hurt at work. When you do they will list your need for care as work related. Your private insurer or group health plan (insurance from employment) will refuse to pay for the medical care because it should go through workers’ compensation insurance.
The second problem applies when people are aware of this issue and try to hide the cause of the injury. This usually occurs when filling out the initial intake form before seeing the doctor. When asked if the cause of the need for care is work related injured workers reply no or skip that question all together. The other time where this can occur is when the nurse, physician’s assistant or the doctor obtain initial information. Injured workers sometimes panic and instead of saying they hurt themselves lifting at work, they just say they were lifting something and felt a tear or heard a pop. By avoiding saying, “hurt at work,” they feel they got around the problem. But they didn’t. It just makes it worse down the road when a workers’ compensation case is opened.
After a case is opened, work comp will seek to obtain past medical records. The adjuster in the initial investigation, or the insurance company’s attorney during a deposition, will ask a question like have you ever seen a doctor for this injury. And they will either already have that information, or can go get it. And if what you tell them is different from what you told the doctor, there can be problems.
When they see the report, it will either say not related, will be blank or the history from the report will say, “patient denied an accident or injury.” The insurance company will have an opportunity to ask about this and the injured worker will have to explain the reason why it is not listed as work related. The adjuster, or defense attorney, will think the injured worker was lying, either then or presently. Either way, it is not a fun situation and one that should be avoided at all costs.
If you are able to see a personal doctor, and avoid the above pitfalls, remember that any recommendations for care, work restrictions or prescriptions can be denied by work comp as if it never happened. Only authorized workers’ compensation doctor’s opinions are honored by work comp.
After being hurt at work, report the accident or injury and seek medical care with the doctor you are sent to by workers’ compensation or your employer. By treating with their doctors you are ensuring that care will be paid, lost wages will be provided and the work comp carrier cannot try to close your case by questioning your honesty or integrity.
If you’ve been injured at work, contact our work injury compensation lawyer near Palm Beach Gardens for a free consultation.