When you file a Workers’ Compensation claim, you will have to be seen by a New York State Workers’ Compensation-certified doctor. While you may be tempted to misrepresent the extent of your injuries or any preexistent conditions in order to strengthen your case, it is important to be as honest as possible with your doctor. This is because the doctor is there to accurately diagnose your conditions and then recommend a treatment plan that will help you get better as quickly and completely as possible. You would benefit from asking your doctor the following three questions:
1. Are my injuries likely to result in long-term or permanent disability?
Even what might appear to be minor work-related injuries can become chronic and grow in severity over time. To obtain proper medical treatment, which may be prolonged, it is best to prepare as soon as possible to obtain Workers’ Compensation insurance coverage for future medical expenses and disability coverage. A New York State Workers’ Compensation-certified doctor’s opinion regarding the nature and severity of your injury(ies) is required as evidence to obtain Workers’ Compensation coverage. In addition, that doctor can help you determine if you should continue working, when you might be able to return to work if you have stopped, how long it will take you to recover, and if your condition(s) may become permanent.
2. What will my limitations be when I return to work?
This question goes hand in hand with the last one. With any job, you should be mindful of your body and your physical limitations, especially returning after (an) injury(ies). Your doctor may recommend returning to work in a “light-duty” capacity or even ask for a leave of absence to allow you to heal. Most people cannot afford to go without working for an extended period, so protecting your healing body when you do return is of utmost importance. Take your return-to-work limitations to your employer. Both you and your employer will be grateful to know to what extent you can perform your duties in order to make your return successful.
3. What is my treatment plan?
During the first few doctor’s visits, you will be informed of the treatment plan for your work-related injury(ies). This includes what diagnostic tests (e.g., x-rays, C-T scan, MRI, nerve function tests) and treatments (e. g., physical therapy, medications, injections, consultation with other specialist doctors) will be required and when you can return to work with or without limitations. You will need all of this information to determine the cost to you in money and personal time. If you are working in New York and are navigating your own Workers’ Compensation claim, please contact us and let our skilled team take care of you and answer any questions you might have.