Workers’ Compensation—What to Do During Your Doctor’s Visit
After being injured on the job, one of the first things you’ll do is visit with a doctor to get treatment and evaluate your situation. Not only is this (obviously) central to recovering fully from your injury, but it also plays a crucial role in securing workers’ compensation benefits. The diagnosis and prescribed treatments made by your doctor are a core part of validating your claim.
Under Illinois workers’ compensation law, you have a right to your own choice of up to two doctors, so that will already work in your favor. However, it’s still important to know how to handle the visit itself in order to secure the compensation you deserve.
Discuss How Your Injury Occurred
One of the first things you’ll need to do is describe how your injury occurred. The more details you can give on how it happened, the better. From there, your doctor can make an informed report on your injury and provide the best treatment possible. In addition, the precision of the report will solidify your claim since it will very clearly tie the injury with fulfilling workplace duties.
This is worth taking some time to do. Prepare beforehand the details you’ll share with your doctor and the way you’ll describe what happened. This is especially important if you feel there could be some complications with how your claim will be viewed.
While telling your doctor about your injury, it’s also important to be honest. Don’t leave out details, but also don’t exaggerate anything either. If your doctor suspects you are malingering (feigning symptoms in order to get out of work), your case will lose credibility, and that could easily reflect in the medical record.
Don’t Mix Treatments
Sometimes you need additional treatments besides what you’d require for a workplace injury. It may be tempting to get those taken care of in the same visit, but this is usually a bad idea. Devote your visit with your doctor to handling the workplace injury and set up a separate appointment for anything else. Otherwise, the odds of your claim being denied go up since the insurance company will see a treatment that’s unrelated to your job in the record.
Sometimes additional specialized treatment is necessary, and your doctor may send you to other physicians. Make sure you get these as referrals since those do not count against your choice of doctors. This is especially important if your employer has a preferred provider network since opting out of that network counts as one of your two choices.
Finally, throughout this entire process, you’ll want to make sure your employer’s insurance company keeps its proper distance from your treatment. The law restricts how much involvement they can have in your medical care, so you don’t need to give them unlimited access to your medical records or allow them to be present at doctor appointments
If you have any questions about how to avoid pitfalls in workers’ compensation or dealing with your employers’ insurance company, it’s best to consult with an attorney. Hart David Carson LLP can provide you with the legal guidance you need in the event of a workplace injury.