How do you get medical care if you have an accident at work? (Part Two)
Please read the first article on this topic and then continue on with this article. Our philosophy in handling workers' compensation (or workman's compensation) cases is pretty straightforward. We want our clients to receive the best possible medical care as well as what monies are owed to them. Money is surely important! Bills have to be paid, kids have to be clothed, housed, and fed. But, health really is everything! Like we had written in prior articles in this blog, a workplace injury is a frightening event because of its impact on your health, career, and finances.
We focus heavily on health issues throughout the claim because securing the right treatment, the right doctor, the right medication, etc., increases your odds of getting well and overcoming the injury. In addition, the amount and type of medical care that you receive affects the value of your claim for securing a lump sum settlement. O.K., imagine that you are the adjuster working for a major company like Liberty Mutual or Hartford and you are dealing with this injured worker (you). If just a couple of thousand dollars was spent in medical care and some clinic doctor (not a specialist) says you are done with treatment, what do you think the case might be worth? Not very much, frankly. Compare this with a case (again yours) where the carrier spent ten thousand dollars on treatment and the specialist is saying more treatment may be needed in the future! The adjuster in that case will pay a lot more to settle that case!
Now, we do not ever recommend that you get more care than you need. Never misrepresent medical conditions to a treating doctor (or anyone else). But, then again, we don't want you to understate your symptoms. Men and women frequently understate their symptoms. Don't do that! Just tell the doctor, the nurse, and anyone else the truth; all of your symptoms. You wouldn't hold back when you tell the mechanic about the funny noise your car is making, right? You want the mechanic to be able to properly diagnose the problem. You also want the doctor to diagnose you properly. Sometimes even an odd or seemingly unimportant symptom can tell a physician important details about your injury that helps you get a proper diagnosis and properly treated. Remember, you do want to get better!
A good example of this is where you have a low back (lumbar) injury or a neck (cervical) injury. Let's assume that you just fell while carrying something or got hit in a car accident while running an errand for the company. If you tell the doctor that your back hurts because that is your primary symptom, then you will get treatment just for that. But, IF you are also experiencing a little numbness in your hand or foot and you fail to tell the doctor because you think it is unimportant (or you are being macho), then you deny that doctor the clues that he or she can use to evaluate and treat a possible disk injury.
The point here is that the doctors that you see in a workers' compensation case are going to take notes that will be read by an adjuster. That adjuster has to approve the treatment that you need. Therefore, you have to tell all of the doctors; whether they are in the local emergency room, a clinic, or a specialist's office; all of the truth all of the time. If you leave out symptoms you cheat yourself. If you overstate your symptoms and try to win an acting award, the doctor is likely to see through this. We have our clients write down all of their symptoms and make copies of that list. In that way, they can give a copy to all of the doctors and be sure that they all know the facts.
Because your medical care is critical to us (and to you, of course) there will be a lot more articles generated on this topic. Please keep checking back for more general information and then much more specific information along with medical-legal strategies to improve your health and maximize your financial recovery.