When an injured worker is first seen by a doctor, a history will usually be taken by the doctor. This history will include what type of work was being performed, how the injury and most importantly, what injuries were sustained. This initial report by the physician will be used to determine what types of treatment may be needed to recover from the work related injuries. However, a frequent problem occurs when an injured worker fails to mention an affected body part at this initial visit and then at a later visit complains of pain in an area not initially disclosed.
For example, a worker falls off a ladder at work and lands on his back, but his head also strikes the ground. The injured worker's back is "killing him" and he reports this pain to his workers' compensation doctor. After a few weeks of treatment, the back pain begins to improve, but the worker notices that his neck is sore and he is having headaches. When he returns to the doctor with these new complaints, the insurance company refuses to authorize the doctor to evaluate and treat. Why? The initial complaints were to the back, not the neck or head.
I have heard many excuses during my years of handling Workers' Compensation cases in the Beach area..."My back was killing me so I wasn't thinking about my neck" or "My shoulder was the most painful and I thought the hand pain would go away". The bottom line is that failure to disclose ALL injuries, no matter how minor, could result in a denial of care, or at the very least, a delay in care while the insurance carrier investigates the new claims. Therefore, when an injured worker is examined by a doctor for the first time following an injury, it is important to be as thorough as possible.
Now, this does not mean that injuries which manifest at a later date will not be covered by workers' compensation. It is not uncommon for pain to develop days or weeks after an accident. However, it usually expedites care when there is medical documentation early on that a particular body part is painful.
If you have been injured on the job or have questions regarding a workers' compensation claim, contact Johnson & Gilbert, P.A. for a free consultation at 1-800-556-8890 or request a free copy of my book on Florida's Workers' Compensation.