In the event you are injured at work, there’s a good chance you will face added pressure to downplay the injury and return to your job. However, work-related injuries can be quite serious, sometimes even long-term.
The most important thing to do following a workplace injury is to seek medical attention. This is true even if you do not think your injuries are serious. In many cases, injuries show up days or even weeks after the accident took place. At Serenity Medical Centers, we strive to provide patients with a higher level of quality care with an individualized medical evaluation, physical therapy evaluation, a comprehensive treatment plan, and an experienced personal concierge who will walk you through the claims process step-by-step.
Why Your Choice of Doctor Is Important
Although doctors hired by employers or insurance companies are supposed to be objective, they often have close and financially rewarding relationships with the employers and insurers that refer cases to them. Because of this, it’s in your best interest—whenever possible—to receive treatment from a doctor you know and trust.
When you have a choice, make sure you select a doctor who’s both experienced and articulate. Your treating physician will play an essential role in your workers’ compensation case. In addition to making decisions about your diagnosis and the treatment you should receive, the doctor will often have to write reports (and sometimes give testimony) that will affect when you can return to work and the benefits you’ll receive, including payments for temporary disability and permanent disability. So it’s important that the treating physician can clearly and convincingly explain the reasons behind his or her decisions.
In any case, make sure that you obtain treatment through the correct avenues and from a properly licensed or credentialed doctor. Otherwise, you run the risk that your medical bills will not be covered.
What Should You Tell Your Doctor?
Even with the advancement of medical technology, doctors still rely on patients to report symptoms, severity of pain, and activities that are difficult or impossible to perform. This is especially true for soft tissue injuries; these injuries don’t involve bones and often cannot be verified through medical imaging like x-rays. Because some injuries can be more subjective in nature, it’s especially important for you to communicate with your doctor about what you’re feeling. In doing so, you should follow these guidelines:
- Be honest and accurate. Describe your symptoms to your doctor truthfully. Don’t exaggerate, but don’t downplay your symptoms either. An experienced doctor will know when you’re not telling the truth, and you’ll lose credibility.
- Err on the side of inclusion. Tell your doctor about all of your symptoms, even ones that seem minor or fleeting. Your doctor is the expert, and you should let him or her decide what’s important. Besides, a symptom that seems insignificant now may develop into a serious problem weeks or months down the road.
- Don’t speculate. If you don’t know the answer to a question your doctor asks, just say so. Never guess about what the cause of your injuries might be, and don’t say that you have fully recovered unless you’re sure that’s the case.
Illnesses, Cumulative Injuries, and Stress-Related Conditions
Workers’ comp may also cover cumulative injuries developed over time (such as repetitive strain or stress injuries or RSIs), occupational diseases and other illnesses resulting from on-the-job exposure, and physical or psychological illnesses resulting from workplace stress. But in these cases, it may be difficult to prove that the injury or illness is work related—especially in the case of infectious diseases like COVID-19.