By: Adam Baron, Esq
Getting injured on the job to the point that you are need medical care and you are unable to work can really set your life into a tailspin. Almost every worker’s comp case follows the same type of progression so let me tell you what you can probably expect to have happen now that you’ve been injured.
Tell your Supervisor
The first thing that is supposed to happen once you get injured at your job is you need to tell your supervisor and he or she will prepare a notice of injury. The notice of injury informs the state and the worker’s comp insurance company that you have been injured. You should be asked to sign this document and receive a copy.
Your company should then send you to a primary care physician (PCP) already designated by the work comp carrier to be the first treating doctor you see. That facility will examine and make further recommendations about your treatment and will address your work status.
If the doctor says that you are unable to work and you are going to remain that way for at least two weeks, your company’s workers compensation insurance will start to pay you two-thirds of your wages. You will get these checks every two weeks. If the doctor says that you are able to go back to work with restrictions, or otherwise known as “light duty”, you will be required to go back to work if your job can accommodate you. If they can’t, work comp will continue to pay you to stay out at a slightly lower rate than the two-thirds.
The PCP may elect to give you therapy if the injury is not very severe, or they may make a referral to a specialist, like an orthopedist or a neurologist if it is more severe. Sometimes the referral may not be given until the PCP sends you for an MRI scan and that scan reveals something torn or broken.
The Insurance Company Chooses your Doctor
Understand that in the workers compensation system, the insurance company gets to choose your doctor. There are exceptions to this rule, but for the most part you will be seeing a physician chosen by the insurance company and paid by the insurance company. Unfortunately, that colors a lot of the doctors’ opinion and oftentimes they will say things that insurance company wants to hear. They may release you back to work with no restrictions despite you still being in pain. Sometimes they can be manipulated by the insurance company to say that your problems are pre-existing in nature and not your job’s responsibility.
Hire An Attorney
If you do not agree with what your doctor says or are dissatisfied with his treatment, you are entitled to a one time change of doctor during the case – but understand that even that doctor is chosen by the insurance company.
If you are beginning to suspect that the odds are stacked against you from the moment that you are hurt, you are right. The work comp statute is very much in the favor of your employer and the insurance company. This is why you need someone who knows all the ways we can use the law to your advantage.
Adam Baron is an attorney at the Law Offices of Adam Baron P.A., with locations in Miami, Coral Springs, Naples, and Ft. Myers. Baron is a graduate of University of Miami School of Law who has practiced workers compensation and personal injury for over 20 years. He has successfully represented thousands of people in his career and prides himself on the personal attention that each of his clients receive. www.AdamBaronLaw.com