Medical Documentation is KEY for your Virginia Work Injury Case
Accurate and precise documentation from your medical provider is curtailed to your claim and can oftentimes be the determining factor as to whether or not you are entitled to medical care and lost wages under the Virginia Workers Compensation System.
So What do I Need From the Doctor?
These 2 Things are a MUST
- The Description of the Accident
- The Work Note
The Description of the Accident:
You want to make sure your work accident is properly documented by your treating workers comp doctor. This means, from your first initial visit to seek medical care, you need to take the time to describe the injury, as well as the details surrounding it.
Bad Example: If your doctor’s records say you fell and hurt your knee because that’s all you told him. This can be extremely problematic as there are a lot of things left to the imagination.
However, if you tell the doctor the details as to how and why you feel, it can make all the difference!
Good Example: You tell the doctor that you were walking to the counter to help a customer when you slipped on water that was on the floor and fell on your right knee – that is a much better and accurate description of how your injury occurred! These details can determine the difference as to whether or not you are covered under Virginia Workers’ Compensation benefits!
Doctors are human, they make mistakes and what’s more, they were not there to witness your injury so make sure you paint a picture for them of your surroundings, what led up to your accident, and the injury itself. A description of your accident is medical documentation you need for your Virginia work injury case.
The Status Work Note:
The work status note (this can also be referred to as a disability slip) determines what you are or are not able to do. Your workers compensation treating doctor is the only person who can write, or make changes to, your work status note.
There are 2 kinds of work status notes:
1) Out of Work
- A doctor’s note-taking you completely out of work means just that; NO WORK AT ALL! That means no working from home, no helping out your boss or coworkers.
2) Light Duty
- If the doctor gives you a set of limitations, this is a Light Duty note. Light duty restrictions can be a wide variety depending on the type of work you do and the extent of your injuries. The restrictions can be as simple as “no driving”, or they can be complex like “no lifting over 5lbs, no use of the left hand, no contact with customers, no operating machinery”. This is just another reason you will want to give your doctor a clear picture of the conditions you work in, what your employer requires of you as well as your symptoms and what might aggravate them. The more specific your work note is, the more easily you, your employer, and the insurance company can understand them!
You must get a note from your doctor at every appointment to ensure your benefits are not interrupted.
YOU MUST ALWAYS FOLLOW YOUR DOCTORS RESTRICTIONS, IF YOU VIOLATE THE DOCTOR’S RESTRICTIONS YOU RISK LOSING YOUR WORKERS COMPENSATION BENEFITS.
Why Are Work Status Notes SO Important?
Whether it is off of work completely or restricted duty, workers’ comp will not honor anything that is not in writing from your doctor. Also, workers’ comp will not accept back-dated work slips, even if it is obvious that you cannot work, you MUST have clear, current instructions in writing from the doctor. I cannot stress this enough! Even if every bone in your body is broken and you can’t get out of bed, workers’ comp WILL NOT PAY you without a work status slip from your doctor.
If you have any situation where you are being asked to violate your doctor’s limitations, you are unsure of what to do about your light-duty work situation you need to contact a workers compensation lawyer immediately. These types of documentation are who you need for your Virginia Work Injury case.
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.