What Should You Say to a Workers’ Comp Doctor?
What Should You Say to a Workers’ Comp Doctor?
Recently, you injured yourself at work. While your employer has workers’ compensation insurance, you must tread carefully to protect your claim. That means you must be careful about what you say to your employer’s workers’ comp doctor. Just like any other insurance provider, workers’ comp providers look for ways to deny or reduce claims; saying the wrong thing could jeopardize your compensation as well as your recovery. Here are tips on navigating your examination with your employer’s chosen physician:
Do Not Exaggerate Your Symptoms
Resist the temptation to claim that your injuries are worse than they actually are to better ensure an accepted claim. Workers’ comp doctors is trained to evaluate injuries, which makes it difficult to fool them. Further, medical professionals use equipment and tests to diagnose the extent of your injury. They may check your reactions to pain or use diagnostic imaging to investigate your symptoms. If results do not reflect your claims, the doctor may think you are inflating your pain and symptoms. Just because you are not in excruciating or debilitating pain does not mean that you do not have a claim.
Do Not Lie About Your Symptoms
Do not make up symptoms for your injury, as doctors can quickly sniff out such exaggerations. This also applies to stretching the truth about limitations your injury causes. This includes, an inability to drive, lift your arm over your head or walk without assistive equipment, such as crutches. During your exam after a workers’ comp injury, expect the doctor to take notes on the information you provide, notes that the insurance company receives. If the doctor or insurance company determines that you lied about your symptoms, then don’t count on your claim being accepted. On the flip side, do not minimize the injury symptoms you experience to put on a brave face. Even minor injuries and symptoms can seriously affect your day-to-day life.
Do Not Forget to Share Past Injuries
Expect the doctor to ask about your medical history, such as pre-existing conditions or old injuries. Give this question considerable thought, as a past injury could make your recent work injury worse. Having an old injury or a pre-existing condition does not always result in an immediate claim dismissal. Another reason to mention your condition or injury to the doctor is that it may show up during the medical exam anyway, such as when the physician spots an old surgical scar or finds medical notes for past treatment you received.
By neglecting to share an old injury or condition, the doctor may feel that you are using your recent work accident to pay for a recent condition or injury flare-up. You can share how your new pain differs from previous pain or discomfort. Maybe you have not experienced pain from an old injury for years. However, your work injury triggered a new type of pain or more severe pain.
Do Not Leave Out Any Details Pertaining to the Accident
Maybe you feel embarrassed about how the workers’ comp accident happened, making you reluctant to reveal the particulars with the doctor. You must overcome your shame and tell the doctor exactly what transpired and its circumstances. Do not omit any details, no matter how minor or embarrassing. Your sheepishness may make the insurance company reluctant to honor your claim. You must bear in mind that insurance companies have a lot of experience sussing out suspicious inconsistencies or potential falsehoods. Don’t risk sending up red flags that do not exist.
Do Not Badmouth Your Employer
Do you feel that it was your company’s fault you sustained your injury? Maybe you did not have the right equipment needed to perform your job safely, or perhaps you have grown used to (reluctantly) working in unsafe working conditions because you need to make a living. Either way, you may feel tempted to speak poorly about your employer to the workers’ comp physician. The reason this is a bad idea is that the information may trickle back to your employer, putting you in a potentially embarrassing situation. While speaking negatively may not affect your injury claim, it could impact your relationship with your employer, which may affect your career’s future.
Do Not Skip Appointments
This tip is not about what you should not say to a workers’ comp doctor, but rather, how you should conduct yourself with a doctor. Show up to all your appointments on time, and follow all treatments that a medical professional or physical therapist recommends. By missing appointments and skipping treatment, you risk the insurance provider questioning your injury’s severity. You do not want to make it seem like you do not care about recovering, as doing so could send the message that you want to cheat the system and take advantage of your situation. Also, if your doctor serves as a witness for your injury case, skipping appointments does not endear him or her to testify in your favor.
Do Not Give the Doctor Attitude
Your injury, missing work, events in your personal life and more could put you in a foul mood. Do not let that curdle into spewing rudeness at the physician. Understandably, it may seem as if the doctor is on a mission to uncover inconsistencies in your story through a never-ending barrage of questions, but you must understand that she or he only wants to get a full, in-depth picture of what happened to build a solid case for you. Doctors and their notes are essential to personal injury claims. Therefore, you want to do everything you can to keep them on your side.
Work With an Experienced Local Lawyer
If you injured yourself at work recently and want to maximize your claim, consider speaking with a workers’ comp legal professional. You do not want to risk not getting the full amount of compensation you legally deserve for your injury and its medical and financial impact on your life. Submit a request online or call us today at (866) 345-6784 to get in touch with an experienced lawyer in your area!