Many workers injured on the job don't realize how important their first doctor's appointment is to their workers’ compensation case.
However, what's said to her and put in your medical records can have an impact on your claim for workers’ compensation benefits. You don't want to make a statement or forget to mention something that can be used by your employer’s insurance company to deny or reduce your claim.
Handling Your First Doctor Appointment for a Workplace Injury
If you were involved in any accident at work, it's crucial to be examined by a doctor as soon as possible, even if you don't believe you were injured. The symptoms of some conditions, such as back, spinal, and neck injuries, and traumatic brain injury, can take days or longer to develop. You don't want to jeopardize your health or give the employer's insurance company a reason to argue that your injury was caused by an activity other
than your job. A prompt medical exam supports your claim.
When filing for workers’ compensation, you might be required to use a doctor on a list provided by your employer in order for your medical expenses to be paid by the program. You need to remember this doctor is employed by or has a working relationship with the insurance company.
Here are guidelines on how to handle your first appointment:
- Be honest. It's important to be honest when describing your symptoms and how they limit your ability to work and perform day-to-day activities. You don't want to exaggerate or minimize your injuries, as either tactic can reduce your credibility and hurt your case.
- Be thorough. Tell the doctor about all your symptoms—even minor ones. If you only discuss the condition you're most concerned about, another injury may worsen later—which is especially true with injuries to the back or neck. This can lead to disputes with the insurance company when you later seek benefits for this additional injury.
- Don't guess. If the doctor asks you a question that you don't know the answer to, tell him this rather than guess. If you simply speculate, this response could be wrong and may cause problems in your claim.
- Fill out forms accurately. You may also be asked to complete a medical history prior to your appointment with the doctor. Complete it accurately and review your answers carefully before you sign the forms. They will be a part of your medical records sent to the insurance company for claim evaluation.
Remember to follow your doctor’s advice regarding your medical treatment and to go to all your scheduled appointments. When you fail to do so, this will be noted in your medical records and could give the insurance company grounds to argue you're no longer entitled to workers’ compensation benefits.
Having an experienced workers’ compensation attorney on your side can help you avoid these and other mistakes, and protect your right to workers’ compensation. At Johnson & Gilbert PA, our skilled lawyers have over 20 years of experience fighting for the rights of injured workers in the Daytona Beach area. Schedule your free initial consultation today to learn more.