Everything You Need to Know When Searching for Injury Treatment

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Serious Problems Need Serious Solutions

A slip and fall accident at work can lead to serious problems. Injuries, medical bills and more can make workplace accidents more costly than you realize. If you have suffered from workplace injuries, your employer is responsible for all of your associated medical bills. If you have been injured in New York, the experts at Injured Call Today help explain how you can find the best medical experts to help treat your work-related injuries.

New York Worker’s Compensation Laws

In New York, you have a few rights not provided to those of other states. The Worker’s Compensation Board (WCB) of New York strives to ensure that the Worker’s Compensation Law (WCL) is carried out as intended by the legislators. These rights include:

Right to Choose Your Own Doctor. Perhaps the most significant right afforded New Yorkers who are injured at work is the right to pursue your own medical care on your employer’s dime. This means you have the right to select your own treating doctor and specialists so long as they meet with state regulations, the WCL standards, and are directly related to the treatment of your work-related injuries.

Right to Timely Medical Care. Some workplace accidents may result in immediate hospitalization, but not all. If you have been injured at work, you need to report your claim immediately. From the date of your injury, you have 30 days to file a formal notice with your employer. (In the case of an occupational disease, you have two years after diagnosis to report this claim to your employer.)

Right to Self-File Form C-3. This form will be provided to you once you formally notify your employer in writing. You will fill out and file this form with your local WCB. Your employer will have to register Form C-2 within ten days of your notification as well.

The Importance of Your Treating Doctor

In New York, the medical expert you select as the primary professional for your workplace injuries is called a “treating doctor.” Understanding how important this individual is can help you make the right decision regarding your claim.

Your treating doctor is critical to your worker’s compensation claim. This is because they make a number of serious decisions and treatment plans that can directly affect the outcome of your case. These decisions, which will impact your medical progress, include:

  • An unbiased medical diagnosis;
  • If a workplace accident resulted in your condition;
  • Whether you are capable of working;
  • Potential duty restrictions;
  • Treatment plans and options;
  • Specialist referrals, as needed;
  • At which point you have recovered as much as expected; and
  • Whether your condition has resulted in permanent limitations or disabilities.

Tips for Finding the Right Medical Experts for You

Now that you understand the WCL and why your treating doctor is important to your worker’s compensation claim, you are probably wondering how you find the right medical expert for your case. Below, we provide tips for narrowing your search for the right medical expert for you after suffering workplace injuries.

Understand The Regulations

While New York does allow you to select your own treating doctor, there are a few rules that can narrow your selection. First, the treating doctor must be registered with the WCB as an “authorized healthcare provider.” Second, if your employer utilizes a Preferred Provider Organization or PPO, this may initially restrict your choices further. (PPOs require you to select from a network of pre-determined healthcare providers and pharmacies, as dictated by their policies. You will have to check with your employer for a list of PPO-recognized providers if this is the case.) Third, after the first 30 days, you may seek your own medical expert outside of your employer’s PPO network if you are dissatisfied with the care you are receiving. Keep in mind, however, that your employer may also request that you see a new treating doctor if they feel that your current selection is not ideal. Your treating doctor can appeal this request on your behalf.

Select the Right Type of Doctor

There are many different doctors to choose from. Understanding the differences between them can help ensure you select one who has a thorough understanding of your injury. After all, the ultimate goal is to have your health fully restored and receiving the right kind of treatment will play a vital role in your recovery. Orthopedists specialize in bone injuries and abnormalities. If you suffer from numbness, swelling, tingling or bruising around your bones or joints – an orthopedist may be the right treating doctor for you. Physiatrists, or Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (PM&R) doctors, on the other hand, are ideal for those who cannot pinpoint exactly what is wrong. These doctors have a wide range of experience with multiple issues and can help you determine the root cause of an array of symptoms. In many cases, specialists may also be required. Neurologists, pain management specialists, physical therapists, and chiropractors are just some of the examples of healthcare professionals that may need to assist your treating doctor with your recovery.

Do Your Homework

Whether you are seeking help after a slip and fall accident at work or an injury you received elsewhere, it is always important to do your homework. Carefully read reviews regarding any healthcare professional you are considering putting your trust in. If you prefer to use your own primary care physician, verify that they are on the WCB’s authorized healthcare provider list and part of your employer’s PPO network if they have one. If they are not on either list, you may need to find a new treating doctor. Consider your options and injuries. For example, if your injury limits mobility – you may need to find a healthcare professional within close proximity to help further agitating your condition.

The Right Type of Experience Matters

Experience comes in many different forms. If you have carefully researched your treating doctor, then you have shown that you already understand the importance of medical experience when it comes to your recovery. However, there is another type of experience you should be aware of. A doctor within your employer’s PPO is supposed to diagnosis and prescribe treatments without bias. However, this may not always be the case. (For example, some PPOs provide doctors on their network with a financial incentive for their services on the PPO network. This may cause the doctor to have a less than objective view.) if you feel dissatisfied with the PPO network doctor’s treatment and diagnosis, it can make it even more important for you to select your own healthcare professional after the first 30 days have passed. Finding a doctor who is experienced with worker’s compensation cases is essential. These individuals understand the types of evidence and support a claim will need and can help ensure all documentation and treatment is available if your claim goes to court. Clear, articulate and well-supported rationales can help and experienced doctor argues your case and their diagnosis. If you have already contacted a lawyer to help with your case, they may be able to provide a list of suggested treating doctors with worker’s compensation experience as well.

Be Honest with Your Doctor at All Times

Being honest with your doctor is an essential part of your case. Being injured is not fun and many of us tend to want to downplay the severity of the pain and suffering we are going through. When it comes to your worker’s compensation claim, however, you need to clearly express your level of pain and discomfort to your treating doctor. If you feel uncomfortable with doing so, you may need to find a doctor you are more comfortable communicating with. Even if you feel your symptoms are irrelevant or minor, you need to disclose them to your treating doctor so that they can use their experience to accurately assess your condition. Answer your doctor with clear and concise answers. If you are unsure of an answer, say so. Do not claim to be fully recovered before you actually are as this can prematurely close your case. (If this happens, you will need to pay any medical expenses you incur after the case is closed.)

Injured? Call Today!

If you or a loved one has suffered from workplace injuries, it is essential that you seek medical help immediately. Whether you believe you have an occupational disease or suffered from a slip and fall accident while at work, filing an official report with your employer is the first step. Storing your health after a workplace accident can be costly and New York law mandates that you should be compensated for it by your employer.

The professionals with Injured Call Today highly recommend that you speak with a legal expert if you have suffered from a workplace accident. A worker’s compensation lawyer has the experience and knowledge you need to navigate the, sometimes, convoluted waters of New York’s WCL. From appealing an employer’s doctor change request to helping you receive full compensation, these individuals are crucial to your claim. If your employer or their insurance company attempt to convince you to keep lawyers out of the picture, we advise you to disregard this request and seek immediate legal aid.

Workplace injuries are no laughing matter. After you notify your employer of your injury, it is essential that you immediately start researching which healthcare professional you would like to designate as your treating doctor. Waiting too long to report your injuries may result in your case being dismissed, so do not delay. You should not be responsible for covering medical expenses that resulted from a workplace accident.