Frequently Asked Workers’ Compensation Questions
It is important to keep your attorney updated on your medical treatment and progress. It is not, however, necessary to contact your attorney’s office after every single doctor’s appointment. If your doctor discusses something important about your injuries that you feel your attorney should know, don’t hesitate to inform your attorney’s office. Additionally, if your doctor refers you out to a special or for diagnostic testing, such as an MRI, it is important to let your attorney know.
You likely have a valid claim if your injury occurred during the course and scope of your employment. Depending on how and where your injury occurred, you could potentially have a personal injury case as well. This is especially true if your accident occurred while delivering or driving somewhere for work. An experienced workers' compensation attorney can help you determine not only the validity of your workers' compensation claim, but also if there are any other potential claims for which you deserve compensation.
Our office frequently receives complaints from our injured clients regarding how they were treated by their workers' compensation doctor. In Florida, workers' compensation doctors are generally chosen by the insurance company. These doctors often appear to be over-worked, underpaid, or simply don’t care about a worker’s injury. One of the best things you can do to remedy this situation is to voice your opinion. Make a call or write letters to local and non-local government officials requesting a change in the current unfairness in workers' compensation laws. The big dollar insurance companies should not be the only group being heard. Injured workers and their attorneys should also be heard. Injured parties and their attorneys should be treated with the respect they deserve. Injured workers should have the right to choose their own doctors who will be attentive to their needs. Injured workers should not be required to wait 210 days to receive a hearing to determine whether benefits should be paid on their behalf. Penalties should be imposed on the insurance companies who delay an injured worker’s due compensation.
I am having difficulty having medical testing and procedures approved by my workers’ compensation adjuster, what should I do?
It is not uncommon in Florida for workers' compensation adjusters to sit on paperwork, delay, or even deny an injured worker his or her medical treatment even at times when this medical treatment has been authorized and recommended by an authorized treating physician. Do not fall for claims by your adjuster that you should “receive a second opinion or change your doctor.” If this occurs do not agree to anything until you have sought immediate legal advice from an experience workers' compensation attorney. The insurance company’s objective is to spend as little money as possible on your claim. They may be seeking to get you a new doctor, chosen by them, to ensure the new physician will not recommend the same procedure or testing as your original doctor and you will have wasted your only opportunity to receive a new doctor.
An injured worker should continuously follow up at least once a year, if possible every six months, with their authorized workers' compensation physician. Even if you do not like your chosen doctor it is important to make this appointment to ensure your case will stay open. It is possible that even if your injury is not serious now, it may worsen over time and cause increased pain or cause you to miss work. If you are unsure if your claim is open or not you should try scheduling a follow up with your last authorized treating physician. If this is not possible, contact an attorney as he or she may be able to help determine if you claim is still open.