If you are injured on the job, you must claim your rights by reporting your injury right away. Make sure that the proper company paperwork is accurately filled out, and keep a copy of your injury report if you can. Try to arrange for a witness to be present when you report your injury, but do not delay reporting it. You may be out of work for a period of time, and you will incur medical expenses. Workers’ compensation laws require that you be paid during the time you are out of work, and provide for payment of your necessary medical expenses. Workers’ compensation laws also prohibit your employer from firing you because you filed a workers’ compensation claim.
If you are injured on the job, you may wish to consult with a lawyer right away. Some employers, and some company medical personnel, try to steer employees away from reporting on-the-job injuries. You may be told that your injury was pre-existing and to use your medical insurance instead of workers’ compensation, or that you should claim short-term disability benefits instead of your workers’ compensation benefits. These actions are wrongful. If either of those situations arise, you should consult with a lawyer right away.
If you are assigned a nurse case manager, you should usually consult with a lawyer immediately. These persons are medically trained workers’ compensation insurance company representatives, and their job is minimize the amount of money your injury costs the insurance company. You are entitled by law to the medically necessary treatment that your doctor prescribes for you! Nurse case managers sometimes convince an injured worker’s doctor that the insurance company will not pay for the care the doctor wants to prescribe, and pressure the doctor to prescribe less treatment than is needed. Nurse case managers will talk to your employer and to your doctor privately, and may disparage you, or try to convince your doctor and your employer that you are malingering.
Sometimes the insurance company will send an injured employee to a doctor who derives a substantial portion of his/her income from the insurance company. That doctor may be particularly susceptible to pressure from the nurse case manager. In that case, in order to get the care that you need and are entitled to by law, you may have to insist on your right to a panel of physicians from whom to select a treating doctor.
If you are injured on the job, it is a good idea to consult with an attorney with experience in workers’ compensation cases, in order to make sure that you receive the payments and medical care to which you are entitled by law.