Workplace injuries are different than other types of injuries, and hurt workers need to know about those differences before they make a mistake. The way you handle your work injury can affect the way your workers' compensation claim gets handled, so read on to find out more.
Take Action Fast — If you hurt your ankle while walking in the park, when you seek medical treatment is pretty much up to you. Workplace injuries, though, should be handled with care. Whatever you do, don't hesitate to seek immediate medical care for your injury. Waiting too long can make it seem as if your injury is not bad enough to be paid those valuable workers' comp benefits.
Understand How Treatment Works — Workers' comp will pay for 100% of your needed medical care, but only if you follow the rules. You might be able to seek emergency care for your injury immediately, but after that, contact your workers' comp insurer for guidance. Some hurt workers can go to whatever doctor they want for treatment after the emergency is over, but some must see only certain doctors.
Stay Home and Recover — For injuries that are not expected to heal quickly, you may be asked to remain home for the time being. If the doctor orders you to do so, you can be paid a partial salary. Though the amount you get varies, it's usually only a portion of your usual pay. It might be about 66.6% of your pay, for example.
Don't Go Rogue — Some types of injuries will require the services of a specialist. For example, someone with bone or ligament damage might be referred to an orthopedic specialist. Don't, however, seek care from such a doctor on your own. You must be referred to a specialist by your main workers' comp doctor.
Be Your Own Best Advocate — Depending on who your doctor may be, you should follow the doctor's orders. However, workers' compensation doctors may not have your best interests in mind when they evaluate you for things like going back to work. If your workers' comp doctor has made a seemingly arbitrary decision to send you back to work and you disagree with them, seek help from a workers' comp lawyer. Never return to work if you are still hurting and in pain.
Speak to a workers' comp lawyer if you encounter problems at any point in your medical care. Of special concern is what happens after you reach MMI because you may be entitled to a lump-sum payment that needs to be handled by a lawyer. Get the help you need with your workers' comp claim.
For more information, contact a local law firm, like Williams & Swee.