What Do I Tell My Doctor About My Injury at Work?
When you are injured at work and pursuing Virginia Worker’s Compensation Benefits, your relationship with the doctor will be extremely important. In order to protect your claim, there are some key things you need to tell your physician about so he/she can document these things in your medical records and you must cooperate with the doctor’s treatment plan.
7 Things You Need to Tell Your Doctor
- How Your Injury Happened and How It’s Related to Your Job
- Fully Disclosure Your Medical History to the Workers Comp Doctor
- Follow the Doctor’s Treatment Plan
- Fill and Take all Medications as Directed by Your Workers Comp Doctor
- Aggravations of Pre-Existing Conditions can be Covered Under Virginia Worker’s Compensation
- Always get a Work Status Note
- Report any difficulties you are having at Work to Your Doctor
Here is What You Need to Do:
Tell Your Doctor How the Injury is Related to Your Job
Simply being on the clock or at the workplace does not guarantee you are covered under Virginia Worker’s Compensation Benefits. To be covered, the injury must have occurred during the “course and scope” of your employment (basically, doing your job). You need to make sure you tell the doctor what you were doing and how the injury occurred while you were doing your job so this can be documented in your medical records properly. If you ever had to go to a hearing on your benefits, remember that the Commission relies heavily on doctor’s records.
Disclose Your Medical History
Failing to fully disclose your health history and habits to your Doctor can really hurt your legal case. A health care provider will usually ask if you had any injury or sickness before your current problem or injury. It is important, to be honest when answering this type of question. Doctors use past medical history in an attempt to assist them to evaluate, diagnose and treat you. Providing false or incomplete information can not only impact the quality of the medical care you receive but concealing any prior injury or sickness from your doctor will also hurt (or possibly destroy) your legal case. If you provide your doctors with incomplete information, their medical opinions could be rejected by insurance companies and the Virginia Workers Compensation Commission.
Fill and Take Your Medications
There is a reason why doctors prescribe a particular type of medication for a particular time period. You should follow your doctor’s recommendation until your doctor tells you something different. If you think a medication is making your muscles ache or your stomach hurt, say so; side effects are not rare, and your doctor can usually switch you to another drug. Don’t put yourself in the position where you have to admit that you chose not to follow your doctor’s advice as this can be devastating to your claim.
Follow Your Doctor’s Treatment Plan
We all have the internet and I know the urge to play internet doc can be hard to resist, however, in order for the insurance company to pay for your treatment, you have to follow the doctor’s treatment plan. If you have concerns about a certain course of treatment, you need to immediately discuss this with your doctor. Refusing to cooperate with treatment could ultimately lead to the insurance company stopping your benefits.
Notify Your Doctor of Any Pre-Existing Conditions
Aggravations of pre-existing injuries can be covered under workers compensation. This means that if the work injury made the already existing issue worse, then the workers compensation insurance company would need to cover treatment to get you back to “baseline” (basically, this means that they have to get you back to where you were before the work injury made your condition worse)
Always Get a Work Status Note from Your Doctor
It really is that simple, if the doctor tells you that you are out of work or that you have limitations, GET IT IN WRITING. And do this at EVERY appointment.
Report any Difficulties at Work to Your Doctor
Insurance companies will not believe that your injury affects your ability to work just because you say so. If your injury is affecting your ability to work, it is important to recount these problems to your doctor. The doctor is the ONLY person involved with your claim is authorized to make changes to your work status or limitations, period!
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.