The second step in the workers’ comp process is to tell your doctor you’ve been injured at work. As part of this process, you’ll have a physical exam and tell the doctor what has been injured. Here are some things to keep in mind.
Your employer will give you at least three (3) physicians to choose from after you have told them 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.
You should tell the front office that you are coming for a workers’ comp evaluation when you make the appointment. They may have a separate process or need to be prepared for your 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 and the claim can still pay for your medical care. The office may ask for your health insurance information in case there is a delay with the workers’ compensation claim.
The doctor will evaluate your injury or illness and set a course of treatment that is appropriate for the injury or illness. The treatment may be medicine, rest or not using an injured body part, physical therapy, surgery, or other similar things. Each person is evaluated individually: what is the right treatment for your sprained ankle is not necessarily the right treatment for someone else’s sprained ankle because they also hurt their knee.
The treatment may also involve sending you to another medical provider, such as a surgeon or a physical therapist, who can better treat your issue.
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.
The doctor should give you some idea of what the course of your treatment will look like, such as the amount of time you maybe on a medicine or 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.
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. Everyone wants you to get better and be able to go back to work if possible.