How to Find the Best Medical Treatment for Workplace Injuries

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Workplace Injuries in New York

If you have suffered from a slip and fall accident at work, you are entitled to medical help from your employer. Below, the experts at Accident Help Zone help you understand how you can find the best medical experts to treat your workplace injuries.

You may wonder about your rights when it comes to workplace accidents. We have all heard horror stories relating to worker’s compensation. State laws dictate how your employer and the courts handle your claim.

In New York, the Worker’s Compensation Board (WCB) ensures that the state’s Workers Compensation Law (WCL) is carried out. While some states strictly require you to be assessed and treated by physicians and medical facilities of their choosing, this is not so in New York State.

So long as you and your doctor act in accordance with worker’s compensation laws in New York, you are free to pursue your own medical treatments at your employer’s expense.

Report Your Claim Immediately

Some workplace injuries result in immediate hospitalization. Your employer often immediately acts on these types of cases.

However, not all workplace accidents result in emergencies. These injuries often mean you need to report the injury yourself. In order to report your injury, you need to notify your injury to your employer in writing as soon as possible. In fact, you must report the injury within 30 days of the incident. For occupational diseases, however, you have up to 2 years of being diagnosed to report your claim to your employer.

Once your employer has been notified in writing, they will provide you with Form C-3. You will need to fill this form out and mail it to the nearest WCB in order to initiate your worker’s compensation claim. Your employer will need to file Form C-2 within 10 days of your written notice as well.

Seeing a doctor as soon as possible is important as it demonstrates your desire to heal your injuries.

Understanding the Importance of You Treating Doctor

Before you select a doctor for your workplace injuries, it is important to understand what a “treating doctor” is and why they are important.

Your treating doctor will play a critical role in your worker’s compensation case. The decisions and treatments they prescribe will affect the outcome of your case. These determinations include:

  • Your medical diagnosis
  • Whether your condition is related to a workplace accident
  • If you are capable of working
  • Duty restrictions
  • Your treatment options and plan
  • Referrals to specialists
  • When you have recovered as much as expected
  • Whether you have permanent limitations or disabilities that have resulted from your workplace accident

Because of the importance of these decisions, your treating doctor needs to be carefully selected. However, there are rules you need to follow. According to the WCL, you can select any doctor that is registered with the WCB as an authorized healthcare provider. If your employer has a Preferred Provider Organization (PPO), they may limit your options to healthcare providers and pharmacies within their network. After the first 30 days, however, you can look for a new doctor if you are dissatisfied with their diagnosis and treatments.

Do Your Homework

Before you make any decisions, whether it is in regards to your treating doctor or any specialists they may suggest, you need to do your homework. Start with the WCB’s authorized healthcare provider list. Your primary care physician may already be on the list. If so, you may be happy to simply visit with them.

However, if your primary care physician is not on this list, you may need to look for a new doctor. As you look through the list, consider your options. Is your mobility extremely limited because of your workplace injuries? This may mean you need a doctor nearby that limits your subway or transportation time.

You should carefully read any available reviews regarding doctors you are considering. Happy and dissatisfied patients will often post reviews of the services provided by a doctor online.

If you are already working with a lawyer for your worker’s compensation claim, they may have a suggestion for you too. As worker’s compensation lawyers, they often have a list of doctors who are on the WCB’s list and are well versed in the requirements of a worker’s compensation claim.

Understanding the Types of Doctors You May Need To See

There are many different types of doctors to select from.

Orthopedists are those healthcare professionals who focus on bone injuries and abnormalities. Numbness, tingling, bruising and swelling, and lack of mobility around bones and joints may make an orthopedist the best doctor for you. Orthopedists know which treatment options will best help you recover as much as possible from any injuries affecting your bones.

Physiatrists deal with many different areas, making them ideal for those who cannot pinpoint exactly what is happening, has a wide range of symptoms, or patients who do not fall under other specialists’ focus areas. Spine conditions, nerves, joints, and bones are some of the areas a physiatrist may treat. Physical therapy is one of the most common treatment methods prescribed by a physiatrist.

In addition to this, there are pain management specialists, neurologists, chiropractors, physical therapists and more. If you believe you understand what your injury is, you may be better able to find a doctor that specifically treats those types of injuries. If not, a more general practitioner may help provide a clear diagnosis.

Choosing the Right Doctor for You

Both you and your employer have the right to request a change in doctors. If your employer requests the transfer to a new doctor, your previous one may appeal this decision. (Often, this occurs if your employer feels the treatment plan prescribed by your doctor is not working.)

Doctors on your employer’s PPO insurance are supposed to provide objective diagnostics and treatment options. However, this is not always true as some may receive a financially rewarding incentive as part of your employer’s healthcare network. Because of this, it is important that you choose the right doctor for you should you be dissatisfied after the first 30 days of care.

Finding a doctor who is experienced in worker’s compensation claims is ideal. An articulate doctor who can clearly explain the rationale behind his or her diagnosis and decisions can help ensure they are able to provide convincing testimony should your benefits be called into question.

Select a doctor who is properly licensed. Abide by the rules dictated by the WCB and can be found on the list of authorized healthcare providers. This will help to ensure your medical bills are covered and your out of pocket expenses are as limited as possible. If your treating doctor is not on the list of authorized healthcare providers, your employer has the right to request a new one, so make sure you base your selection on this list of professionals.

Be Honest With Your Doctor

Being honest with your doctor can ensure you get the best diagnosis and treatment as possible. After all, modern medical technology still cannot describe your pain levels, which activities are difficult or impossible, and much more. To ensure an accurate diagnosis, describe your symptoms without exaggerating or embellishing them. Do not downplay your symptoms either attempting to “tough it out”. This can lead to a misdiagnosis in addition to hurting your case.

Make sure you tell your doctor about all your symptoms, even if you think they are irrelevant or minor. What may seem small to you may mean more to a trained professional. In addition to this, minor symptoms can become more severe if left untreated.

Do not speculate or provide answers you are not sure of. If your doctor asks a question and you do not know the answer, say so. Also, do not tell your doctor that you feel fully recovered if you are not sure you absolutely are. This may close your case prematurely and leave you with medical bills resulting from issues later on.

Find Help Today

You should seek help immediately if you suffer a workplace accident. Whether it was a slip and fall accident or you believe you have an occupational disease, officially reporting your injury to your employer is essential to restoring your health and receiving the compensation you deserve. Consider searching NYS Workers’ Compensation website or visiting online medical directory like InjuredCallToday.com to find an experienced injury doctor.

The professionals at Accident Help Zone strongly urge you to seek help from a legal expert. These individuals are experienced and well versed in the nuances of a worker’s compensation claim. They are also well practiced with the appeals process should you dispute your employer’s decisions. Your employer or their insurance company may urge you to keep lawyers out of the equation. This is highly ill-advised as your lawyer will act as your legal advocate throughout the worker’s compensation process. From the start, it is very important you speak with a lawyer.

After reporting your workplace injuries to your employer, it is essential that you evaluate your healthcare options and seek treatment as soon as possible. A lawyer can help you select the right healthcare provider if you are unsure whom to pick.

If you have been injured on the job, it is important you do not try to “tough it out”. Even small injuries can become more serious if left untreated. If you wait too long to report your injury, you may no longer be eligible for worker’s compensation benefits. This means you will be left to cover all medical expenses related to your workplace injuries without help from your employer. This can be extremely costly and is not a mistake worth making.