Have you suffered an on-the-job injury or developed an occupational illness in Florida? If so, your employer’s workers’ compensation insurer has to cover your medical care. You may already know this. What you may not know is how important your first doctor’s visit is. In this article, we’ll provide you with some basic tips for handling your appointment. If you want more advice on how to interact with the physician, you should contact a Florida workers’ compensation lawyer.
Under Florida’s laws, your employer’s insurer will choose your doctor. That doctor will make several important decisions regarding your treatment after a doctor’s visit and your return to work. The only circumstances under which you can choose your doctor are if:
- You need emergency treatment
- Your workers’ compensation claim was initially denied
- The insurer fails to send you to a doctor even though you submitted a written request
- The insurer has a managed care arrangement and you have the option of choosing a doctor within the network
Why Your Initial Doctor’s Visit is So Important
When you have a doctor’s visit under normal circumstances, you may not think twice about what you say. You may guess about what your symptoms could mean or leave out certain details because the doctor is familiar with your medical and personal history. You may even joke about the severity of your condition, expecting them to know you’re kidding.
If you have a doctor’s visit to a professional chosen by a workers’ comp insurer, the situation will be much different. What you say to this physician will go into your medical records and potentially impact your claim for benefits. Remember, this doctor either works for the insurance company or has a relationship with them. While they’re still required to act ethically, they’re not necessarily on your side. If you’re not careful, things you say or neglect to say could be used to deny your claim or reduce the amount of compensation you get.
If you suffer a workplace injury or you suspect your illness is due to your work, you need to have a doctor’s visit as soon as possible. In the case of an accidental injury, you need to seek medical attention even if you don’t think you’ve been badly hurt. Some symptoms take several days to develop or intensify but taking a wait-and-see approach could jeopardize your ability to claim compensation later. Your employer or their insurer could easily claim that you suffered the injury elsewhere. Back, spine, and neck injuries are among those that can present symptoms later and these types of injuries can be serious.
Tips for Your Initial Appointment
To increase the likelihood of a positive outcome, you need to:
Be Honest With the Doctor:
You’ll have to describe your symptoms and how they affect your ability to work. Make sure you neither exaggerate nor downplay your condition. Not telling the truth can make you seem less credible.
Describe All Your Symptoms:
You may be inclined to mention only the symptoms that seem most serious. However, a dull ache or minor discomfort could be a sign of something serious. Tell the physician about every symptom you’re experiencing. That way, if a minor issue worsens, you’ll be less likely to have a fight with the insurance company.
Provide Accurate Information About Your Medical History:
The doctor may ask you to fill out a form ahead of your appointment. Take the time to provide accurate details and then review the document. This information will be sent to the insurance company so you must make sure it is correct.
If the doctor asks you a question and you’re not sure of the answer, say so. Guessing or saying what you think the doctor wants to hear could cause problems.
Follow the Doctor’s Orders:
Follow the doctor’s orders regarding tests, treatment, and future appointments. Not following up with your care could bar you from getting workers’ compensation benefits.
Get Help From a Workers’ Compensation Lawyer in Florida
It can be very difficult to navigate the workers’ comp system. Not only is the law complex. but it’s hard to think clearly when you’re ill or injured and unable to work. It gets even harder if the insurance company is refusing to authorize treatment or disputing the severity of your injury.
Hiring a workers’ compensation lawyer in Florida can help to ensure you get the treatment and income benefits you need.
The attorneys at Work Injury Rights have the skills and experience to help you. Your first consultation is free and if you decide to hire us, we only get paid if you’re awarded compensation. Contact us today to schedule a consultation and learn more about how we can help you.