In the aftermath of a serious work injury, it’s crucial to seek medical care immediately even if the injury is not life-threatening. Minor injuries can worsen if left untreated, and waiting to see a doctor can actually complicate your workers’ compensation claim. But you’ll also want to remember that the claims adjuster will be looking for reasons not to give you benefits, and what you say to the workers’ comp doctor can affect the success of your claim.
Follow these guidelines for what not to say to a workers’ compensation doctor:
1. DON’T LIE
Whether you have clearance to see your general practitioner or you see an insurance company-affiliated doctor, the most important thing you can do is be completely honest about your injury. Tell the truth about how the injury happened and how much pain and discomfort you’re in, and be honest as well about pre-existing conditions or injuries that might impact the new injury.
Many people assume that admitting to pre-existing conditions will hurt their claim, but doctors can easily find out about prior injuries through your medical records. Lies and omissions can both hurt you.
2. DON’T EXAGGERATE
Exaggerating the symptoms of an injury is the same as lying about an injury in the eyes of a claims adjuster. Doctors have extensive knowledge and experience in treating injuries and they can usually tell if patients aren’t being honest about symptoms.
If your personal doctor or an insurance-appointed doctor suspects you are exaggerating, they are law and duty-bound to include it in their report to the insurance company, which can destroy your credibility and guarantee a denial of your claim.
3. DON’T DISPARAGE YOUR EMPLOYER
Depending on the circumstances of your injury, you might be tempted to vent about your employer and how they have reacted to your claim, but it’s important to avoid sharing these complaints with your workers’ comp doctor. Unlike most other medical scenarios, there is no doctor-patient privilege when it comes to workers’ compensation claims. That means the workers’ comp doctor will pass along all relevant details of your exam, including complaints that can be used to gauge your temperament and credibility.
If you’re wondering, “What should I not say to my workers’ comp adjuster?” consider applying the same rules as stated above. Everything you say will end up in your file.
4. DON’T MISS APPOINTMENTS
Skipping appointments for a workers’ comp doctor can be devastating to your claim, even if you have a legitimate reason for missing it. Your file will say “no show” without any context, which can damage your credibility by hinting the appointment wasn’t a high priority or your injuries are not as serious as you claim. If you must miss an appointment, call to reschedule as soon as you can.
5. DON’T IGNORE WORK RESTRICTIONS
Depending on the severity of your injury, your workers’ comp doctor will likely issue certain work restrictions to follow while you recover—this could mean avoiding certain activities or equipment, or being exempt from work entirely. It’s extremely important to abide by these restrictions and to avoid non-work activities that could exacerbate your injury as well.
TOP-RATED WORKERS’ COMPENSATION ATTORNEYS IN SAN DIEGO
If you’re suffering from a workplace injury, healing should be your main priority. There’s no need to navigate the complicated worker’s compensation system alone. We can help. With over 45 years of collective experience representing injured workers, The Law Office of Matthew Russell will guide you through the process and fight on your behalf to ensure that you receive the maximum benefits you’re entitled to.
Give us a call at (619) 544-1506 to schedule a free consultation today.