If you are injured on the job, you will need to be seen by a physician. While your first step when injured on the job is to let your employer know, seeing a doctor is step number two. Of course, if your injuries are extreme and require emergency care, let the medical workers attending you know that you were injured on the job as soon as possible. Your initial physician visit for a workers’ comp related injury is unique from other medical visits. To help you with your workers’ compensation case further down the road, be prepared by knowing what to expect at your workers’ compensation doctor’s appointment.
Schedule A Doctor’s Appointment
The second step in the workers’ comp process is to tell your doctor you’ve been injured at work and have a physical exam. Your employer may provide you with a list of at least three (3) physicians to choose from after you have told your employer of your injury. You will choose one doctor to be your treating physician. If your job does not give you doctors to choose from after you told them of your injury, you can choose your own doctor.
Notify The Physician’s Office That This Is A Workers’ Comp Related Visit
You should tell the front office or the appointment setter that you are coming for a workers’ comp physical evaluation when you make the appointment. They may have a separate process, additional forms, or need to be better prepared for your physician visit requirements. When you check in, you may be asked for a claim number for your workers’ comp claim. If you don’t have one yet, don’t worry: that is part of the process. You can file your claim through the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission to start the claim process. The claim can still pay for your medical care without a claim number. The office may ask for your health insurance information in case there is a delay with the workers’ compensation claim.
The Workers’ Compensation Physician Exam
As with any other doctor’s visit, at your workers’ comp medical visit the physician will evaluate your injury or illness and set a course of treatment that is appropriate for the injury or illness. Just like when you are telling your boss what happened, tell the doctor exactly what occurred. Don’t speculate about what might have been done to prevent the injury, or who might be at fault. Don’t try to hide anything. Tell the doctor what part of your body is injured and how it got hurt. If one part hurt more at first and another part hurts more now, tell them. If the pain is getting worse, let them know. Don’t try to be tough and pretend that an injury is less serious than it is; similarly, don’t try to make an injury seem worse than it is.
Prescribed Restrictions At Your Workers’ Compensation Physician Exam
The treatment may be medicine, rest, not using an injured body part, physical therapy, surgery, or other similar treatments. Each person is evaluated individually: the right treatment for your sprained ankle is not necessarily the right treatment for someone else’s sprained ankle because they may have also hurt their knee. The treatment may also involve sending you to another medical provider, such as a surgeon, a physical therapist, or a specialist, who can better treat your medical condition. The doctor may give you light-duty restrictions, which limit your ability to do your regular work. You may be limited in the amount of time you can stand or the amount of weight you can carry, for example. If you get light-duty restrictions, you should tell your employer. If they do not have a position for you while you are restricted, you will need to attempt to find other employment for the amount of time that you are restricted. If you need help finding light duty work check out this blog on How To Look For Light Duty Work After A Workers’ Comp Claim.
The doctor should give you some idea of what the course of your treatment will look like, such as the amount of time you may be on a medicine or how long you must rest a body part. If they don’t tell you, ask! It is your body and you deserve to know. The doctor may give an educated guess and need to adjust it later based on how they see you healing.
Next Steps After The Workers’ Compensation Physician Exam
You may have follow-up appointments with medical providers. Make sure you go to all of your appointments, including ones such as physical therapy sessions. Keep record of all receipts for medical bills and appointments. Follow the treatment plan that your physician prescribed. Everyone wants you to get better and be able to go back to work if possible. After your workers’ comp doctor’s appointment where you have explained what happened to the physician, the next step is to set-up a free case evaluation with HammondTownsend.