- Never say “no”
- Buy yourself some time
- If medical benefits are stopped, so are lost wage benefits
- Explore your legal options – Consult a Virginia Workers Compensation Lawyer!
- Move with caution
Let’s face it. Sometimes, medical treatment can be scary. Injections and surgeries all come with risks and I can definitely understand someone making the choice to forego certain procedures because they are too risky or maybe because they have a very low chance of success. Whatever the reason, I always tell injured workers DO NOT REFUSE MEDICAL TREATMENT! Even if your mind is made up and you are 100% against whichever procedure your doctor recommends, workers’ compensation does not give injured workers much discretion over what happens with their medical care. Instead, I tell people to buy themselves some time and let the doctor know they will “think about it.”
Why Tell Them “I’ll Think About It”?
Workers’ compensation insurance is a fickle system, and if you tell your workers’ compensation doctor that you will not have the surgery or the injection that he or she is recommending, you run the risk of having your medical benefits terminated. If you refuse treatment, regardless of your reasons why, the insurance carrier will typically take this as a refusal to cooperate with your doctor’s orders and, if you have read through my website, you should already be aware that whatever the doctor says goes!
If your medical benefits are terminated for failure to cooperate with the doctor’s treatment plan, it will be VERY difficult to get your medical benefits reinstated without the help of an attorney and some serious legal maneuvering. It’s also important to know that if your medical benefits are terminated, any lost wages you are receiving will likely be stopped as well. In order to receive lost wages from Virginia Workers Compensation, you must have a valid doctor’s note.
If you are not actively seeing the workers’ compensation doctor due to a termination of medical benefits, you won’t be able to get a valid doctor’s note to support any claims for lost wages!
By letting the doctor know you will “think about it,” you are not giving a solid answer that can be used against you and you are, thereby, buying yourself some valuable time. Use this time wisely and consult an experienced workers’ compensation attorney who can let you know what your options are and how your decisions about treatment may affect your workers’ compensation benefits. A lot of folks I talk to want to get a second opinion (https://www.injuredworkerslawfirm.com/blogs/can-i-get-a-second-opinion-in-a-richmond-workers-compensation-case/) on the doctor’s prescribed treatment approach, or they possibly want to pursue other, less invasive treatments, or maybe even a wholistic approach to healing.
While all of these paths can be valid, and often time beneficial, you need to be cautious in how you approach them. These are just a few of the issues I speak to injured workers about every day. Each person I speak to has a different set of circumstances and may have a different desired outcome. It is always best to talk to an experienced lawyer to make sure your plan suits your particular situation and meets your desired outcome.
If you have questions about your benefits or if you would like more information on the Virginia workers’ compensation system, order my book, “The Ultimate Guide to Workers’ Compensation in Virginia”, visit our contact us page or call our office today (804) 755-7755.
About the Author: Michele Lewane
The Injured Workers Law Firm is a Richmond, Virginia based firm solely focused on serving clients with workers' compensation claims in Virginia. If you have questions about your benefits or if you would like more information on the Virginia workers’ compensation system, order our book, “The Ultimate Guide to Workers’ Compensation in Virginia” , or call our office today (804) 755-7755.