WHAT HAPPENS AFTER MY WORK-INJURY?
Report your accident right away. Insist on an accident-report.
Your Employer will generally have you seen at a walk-in clinic. Not just any walk-in
clinic, a walk-in clinic they know will tell you you are fine and can return to work. Your
Employer knows what they are doing. You may not. They have the right to have you drug
tested. Don’t be offended by that. It’s the law.
Employers, especially large companies, hate “loss time.” Its effects their insurance
premium and, for large contractors, they are often required to disclose recent loss time when
bidding on jobs. If the walk-in clinic sends you back to work without prescribing any narcotic, there is no loss time. You have the right to see a doctor of your choosing.
If you go to the ER on your own, make sure its an emergency. The workers’
compensation insurance company’s responsibility is limited to $750 for non-emergency non-pre-approved medical care. $750 is nothing compared to what it cost to go to an ER, get an x-ray, etc. Make sure the ER knows it is a work-accident. If you can see your family doctor quickly, that may be a better choice. Ask your family doctor to refer you to a specialist, such as an orthopedist or neurologist, and make sure he or she knows its work-related. That specialist may refer you to pain management.
Clients often tell me, “I told them it was work-related, they just didn’t write it down.”
The problem is doctors will write down that it is work-related if you told them that. If the doctor
did not state in his notes that your injury was work-related, a judge will assume you didn’t tell
them. If you fill-in paperwork before the ER or family doctor visit, make sure you write that
your injury is work-related.
Always ask for a “no work” slip from the ER or your family doctor, although ERs will
generally only say 3 days “no work”. If they say, “no work until follow-up with own doctor,”
that is fine. The Adjuster does not have to pay you a weekly check unless you have a doctor
saying you cannot work due to your work-accident. You may think you are unable to work.
Your lawyer may think you are unable to work. But only a doctor can say that.
There is a seven-day waiting period for weekly benefits. If your work-related disability
continues for 14 days, you will be entitled to payment for that first seven days and thereafter as long as your doctor says you cannot work due to your work-accident. Said another way, after 14 days of not working, your first workers’ compensation check will cover the period since your accident.
Contact an experienced workers’ compensation attorney to know your rights.