Workers’ Comp Doctors – What You Need to Know Before You See One
Originally posted on https://www.injuredcalltoday.com/workers-comp-doctors-in-new-work/
After a workplace injury, you may have many questions about the process and specifics of filing a workers’ comp claim. Among these questions, you may wonder what a workers’ comp doctor is, what role they play, and how they benefit or hurt your case. In this article, we go over some information you should know about workers’ compensation doctors so you can be informed while seeking treatment for your workplace injuries.
What Do Workers’ Comp Doctors Do?
Workers’ comp doctors are physicians who treat patients after a workplace accident. This can include doctors who may or may not be listed or recommended by a workers’ comp insurance company; doctors requested to examine a patient as part of an Independent Medical Exam (IME), or a patient’s regular family physician. In New York, in order to treat patients in a workers’ comp claim, a doctor must be authorized by the New York State Workers’ Compensation Board (NYS WCB).
After a workplace injury, a workers’ comp doctor will examine you and ask you detailed questions about your medical history. The doctor will then assess any injuries you may have, how severe these injuries are, the cause of these injuries, and what kind of treatment you will need in the future.
A workers’ compensation physician plays a crucial role in the workers’ comp claim process. His or her reports will serve as documentation of your injuries and necessary treatment, which will be a factor of determining whether you are entitled to benefits and how much benefits you will receive. Your workers’ comp doctor will issue a medical report about things such as whether your injury was caused by the workplace accident, how your medical history affected or caused the injury, whether you can work at all or with restrictions, and many other findings.
Should You See a Workers’ Comp Doctor after a Workplace Injury?
Not only should you see a workers’ compensation doctor after a workplace injury, but you should also see one as soon as possible. The sooner you visit a workers’ comp doctor to examine your injuries, the better for your case and your treatment. Although you may feel fine after an accident at work, some injuries and conditions take time to show symptoms, and delaying treatment could mean questions from the workers’ comp insurance company as well as worsened injuries or illness.
Even minor injuries benefit from immediate treatment, and a workers’ comp physician can do their job better if he or she can begin monitoring any injuries as soon as possible. Your workers’ comp doctor will devise a treatment plan to not only treat any injuries you have, but you prevent any existing injuries from getting worse.
What Should You Tell Your Workers’ Comp Doctor?
You may think that disclosing certain pre-existing conditions or information about your health history may hurt your case, so you may consider leaving this information out. Do not do this. A doctor’s job is to treat you with the information available to him or her, and he or she cannot do their job if they do not have all the facts.
Be completely honest with your doctor, and answer his or her questions truthfully. Honesty will not hurt your case and will help your doctor treat you properly. Leaving out or fabricating information could hurt you by leading to a wrong diagnosis or improper treatment.
Help your physician do his or her job and be honest. Honesty is the best policy.
How Do I Choose a Workers’ Compensation Doctor?
You can choose any doctor who is authorized by the New York State Workers’ Compensation Board to treat your workers’ comp injuries. A list of authorized doctors is available on the Workers’ Comp Board’s website, or you can click here to find experienced workers comp doctors in New York.
The list of authorized workers’ comp doctors is extensive and includes many doctors in New York. Your employer’s workers’ comp insurance company may have a list of recommended workers’ compensation doctors for you to see, but you can choose a new doctor, or even your family doctor to treat your injuries (although not recommended in most cases).
Will My Doctor Visits Be Covered by Workers’ Compensation Insurance?
If you’ve been injured in a workplace injury and have filed a claim, your medical treatment will be covered by workers’ compensation insurance. The covered medical treatment can include the costs of your doctor’s visits and treatment, such as prescription drugs, medical supplies, physical therapy, or follow-up care.
Although cash benefits will not be paid out until an injury has kept you out of work 14 days, medical care is often immediately payable by workers’ comp insurance.
What If I’m Asked to Attend a Workers’ Comp IME?
It is not uncommon for an injured employee to seek treatment and then be asked to see another doctor chosen by the workers’ comp insurance company. This is known as an Independent Medical Examination (IME), and the insurance company does this to validate your claims of injury, or even to dispute them.
You may wonder if you should attend an IME. The truth is, you should attend any medical examinations the insurance company requests of you. Failure to do so may result in termination of your benefits.
As with your treating physician, be completely honest about your medical history and symptoms with the IME physician. Doctors are trained to spot exaggeration or dishonesty in patients, and this could hurt your case. If the IME physician disagrees with your treating physician’s report, you can always arbitrate these claims. If your treating physician is a reliable doctor with a good reputation, his or her report may be determined to be more reliable than the IME physician.
What Should I Do at My Doctor’s Visits to Ensure the Success of My Claim?
Workers’ comp doctor visits are an important part of the workers’ comp claim process. Helping your physician to do his or her job will ensure the success of your claim and your recovery. Here are a few things you should do at each visit to maximize your success:
- Be completely honest. Your workers’ comp doctor cannot do his or her job effectively without access to the full information. Disclose any health history or symptoms you have, even if you are scared, it might hurt your case. Pre-existing conditions will not hurt your recovery, and you are still entitled to compensation if your workplace accident worsened a pre-existing condition.
- Report any new or worsened symptoms or injuries. If you have any developments in your injuries, report these to your doctor right away. Your doctor will document these so that you have a paper trail of your injuries’ developments, and he or she will modify your existing treatment plan as appropriate.
- Keep copies of your medical documentation. It is not uncommon for people to see multiple doctors when dealing with workplace injuries. This can include primary care physicians, specialists, or physical therapy. Keeping a file of all your medical documentation from each visit will not only be helpful for your case but will also be helpful to your doctor. It is often a lengthy process to request medical records from other treating physicians, so having the documentation on hand will help your doctor immensely, and he or she will be better able to assist you with your treatment.
Find an Experienced Workers’ Comp Doctor Near You
If you have been injured on the job, you need a trusted Workers’ Compensation Physician on your side to make sure you get the treatment you need.
Doctors listed in our directory have a long history of treating workers’ comp clients and making sure they get the proper diagnosis and care they need. If you have have been injured in a workplace accident and questions about finding experienced workers’ comp doctors near you, call 800-897-8440 today.