After suffering a workplace injury, a visit to a doctor is your first priority. The medical records the doctor collects will be invaluable if you file a workers’ compensation claim. Most of the time you will be sent or taken to a doctor your job picks – the Company Doctor. This is ok if the accident just happened, but if you keep going to their doctor after the first visit you may forfeit your right to go to a doctor you chose. Some of these doctors earn their living handling patients referred by the insurance companies and employers. We’ve seen too many people released to work by the Company Doctor with no or minimal restrictions even though they have serious injuries. As soon as you can, you need to be seen by a doctor you select that knows the workers’ compensation system. We can help, and your employer is supposed to authorize and pay for it. However, your employer may not take your doctor’s evaluation at face value.
Your employer or their insurance company may require a second medical opinion (SMO). This appointment will be overseen by a workers’ comp doctor who will evaluate your injuries. Your statements to this physician will be very important, so you must avoid misunderstandings. Here are the top mistakes claimants make when talking to a workers’ comp doctor.
Three Common Mistakes When Speaking to a Workers’ Comp Doctor
Exaggeration and Understatement
The purpose of your examination is to confirm the extent of your injuries and the treatment you need to recover. Exaggerating your symptoms or failing to fully express them prevents the doctor from evaluating your condition. This could lead to doubts that prevent them from taking you out of work or giving you proper job restrictions.
Failing to Disclose Previous Injuries
As a part of your evaluation, the workers’ comp doctor will ask you about your medical history. If the doctor finds a previously undisclosed injury your case could be in jeopardy. If your previous injuries were recent or relatively severe and you don’t mention them you will be accused of worker’s compensation fraud, which is the intentional misrepresentation of your medical condition in order to get benefits. Disclosing a previous injury offers the doctor a chance to rule out a connection between your current and prior injuries. The physician may even determine that your workplace injury worsened that old injury. This could help your claim.
Information that does not match the doctor’s evaluation is a big red flag. These inconsistencies are often unintentional but can make the doctor think you are being dishonest. When answering the physician, avoid making guesses. If you do not know the answer or are unsure, just say so. This will help prevent inconsistencies that could endanger your claim.
Still Concerned About Your Claim? Our New Orleans Workers’ Compensation Attorneys Can Help
Navigating Louisiana’s workers’ compensation laws is no easy task. It can be even harder when employers and insurance companies are skeptical of your claim. You need a workers’ compensation attorney who will give you the attention you need. We have offices in New Orleans and Baton Rouge that are ready to help you. Learn more about the workers’ comp lawyers at Mitchell & Associates, APLC by giving us a call at 504-226-6530!