You should never leave the doctor’s office without having a disability slip.

What do you need from your doctor?  Two very important things:  First, make sure he describes your work accident accurately in his notes.  Once he is considered your workers’ compensation treating physician, any opinion he has regarding your medical treatment and cause of injury is given great weight.  So, make sure he has accurate information about how the accident occurred.  If you feel he is rushing and doesn’t understand, ask him point blank, “Do you understand what happened to me?”  Doctors are human and they make mistakes in their note taking.  Tell the doctor about the specific incident that happened at work.  Second, always get a disability slip at each doctor appointment, whether he has you out of work or has you on some type of work restrictions.  You should never leave the doctor’s office without having a disability slip.  Usually, doctors will make the disability slips from one doctor appointment until the next.  If your doctor’s appointment gets postponed, I would suggest you call the doctor’s nurse and get your work status extended.  It is extremely important to make sure your attorney and your employer, always have a copy of your current disability slips, and that you keep a copy for yourself.  If the doctor has released you to work (such as light duty, not lifting over 10 pounds), and your supervisor asks you to lift something that’s 20 pounds, you would have the documentation to prove that you are not allowed to do it.  The important thing is to remember not to violate the work restrictions.  Everybody has to abide by what the disability slip says.  If the doctor says you’re out of work then you, your employer, and the insurance company are stuck with you being out of work.  If it says you are released to full duty then you, the employer, and the insurance company are stuck with you being released to full duty.  If the doctor says you’re released to some form of light duty then everyone is stuck with light duty.  Many employers make the injured worker feel guilty and put pressure on them to do their “fair share” and violate the doctor’s work restrictions.  If you violate your restrictions because your supervisor told you to lift an item heavier than your restrictions, and you are further hurt, you risk your benefits being cut off.  You disobeyed your doctor’s orders.  Talk to a lawyer if you get into this type of situation.


About the Author:

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.