Being injured on the job can be a difficult time in your life. Workers’ compensation is designed to help make you whole again, but the bureaucracy associated with workers’ compensation claims can be challenging for even the most patient person to navigate. If you’re not sure how to manage your claim, you need a lawyer. Your attorney will help you avoid the following five pitfalls, and it is valuable information for you to have on hand, as well.
- Not Reporting Your Injury Many of us have been raised to always be positive, even when we’re injured. But if you don’t report the injury to your employer, your claim could be sunk before it even gets off the ground. Even if the injury seems small, make sure you report it immediately and document the circumstances under which it occurred.
- Going to the Wrong Doctor If your employer selects a specific workers’ compensation doctor for you, you have to submit to an exam by that doctor to be eligible for workers’ compensation coverage. If your employer doesn’t select a doctor for you, you can go to any doctor you want, as long as that doctor is qualified to diagnose your injury. You couldn’t, for example, ask your obstetrician to diagnose you with a soft tissue injury.
- Ignoring Work Restrictions If your doctor places specific restrictions on the type of work you can and can’t do, you need to follow these restrictions. If the insurance company can prove that you’re able to do things your doctor says you can’t, then you’ll be eligible for a lower workers’ compensation award, and could lose your claim altogether.
- Not Receiving a Second Opinion You have a right to a second opinion if you disagree with the first doctor’s diagnosis. Your employer, your insurance company, and you must agree to the same doctor. So, be prepared to submit a list of doctors, and ensure it consists of physicians highly qualified to diagnose the specific type of injury you believe you have.
- Not Telling the Doctor the Specifics of Your Injury When it comes to reporting your injuries to your doctor, you shouldn’t just grin and bear it. Minimizing your pain or glossing over the specifics of how you received your injury is a recipe for disaster. If your doctor doesn’t know you’re in pain, he/she has little reason to recommend the right treatment protocol, and this can destroy your claim. Likewise, if your doctor doesn’t know every detail of how you sustained your injury, he/she may incorrectly underestimate the severity of your injury.
The guiding principle when you interact with anyone – doctors, your employer, or the insurance company – is to consider whether what you’re saying will help or hurt your workers’ compensation claim. If you can’t be sure or you have concerns, it’s time to talk to a workers’ compensation attorney. Contact one of the experienced Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at McDivitt Law Firm today to request a FREE consultation.