Hurt workers must tread carefully after a work injury to ensure that they receive all the workers' compensation benefits they deserve. Read on for some focused tips on dealing with that aspect of your work-related injury.
1. Seek Medical Care
Workers' compensation rules vary by the state but regardless of where you live, you should see a doctor as soon as possible after the injury. If you have an illness, see a doctor as soon as you suspect the problem is work-related, even if you began to show symptoms months ago. A failure to do so can negatively affect your chances of benefits.
For your first doctor's visit, go to the closest and most convenient medical facility. That might be an emergency room, urgent care location, or your general practitioner or specialist. After you've informed your supervisor about your medical issue, you will be instructed on who to see in the future. Many states choose your workers' compensation doctor for you but you may be able to see whoever you choose.
2. Establish Your Work Injury
When you visit the doctor, start on the right foot by explaining that your injury or occupational illness is directly related to your job. For example, you might say that you have extreme pain and swelling in your wrists due to using a keyboard all day at your job. No matter what your injury is, it should've happened at work or be work-related to be covered under workers' comp. As you seek ongoing care, continue to reference the way the injury is affecting your everyday life as well. If your injury is work-related, you should not be charged anything for medications, emergency room visits, doctor's fees, diagnostic tests, and more.
3. Follow Doctor's Orders
Communicating with your medical professionals is vital because they are the ones who decide your time off from work. If you are unable to work at your job, the doctor will order you to stay home for a certain time. When the doctor gives you the word to return to work, you have to do so or risk losing your job. While you are recuperating, you are paid a partial salary from your workers' comp benefits.
If your doctor is insisting that you should return to your job or you are in disagreement with any aspect of your medical care for a work-related injury, speak to a workers' compensation attorney. They can step in and advocate on your behalf to ensure you are covered for the care and recuperation you need.