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Workers Compensation Doctors: Everything You Need To Know

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Dr. Deuk
An expert in all things spine, Dr. Deukmedjain is a board certified neurosurgeon who has performed thousands of minimally invasive surgeries and procedures including the revolutionary Deuk Laser Disc Repair and the Deuk Spinal Fusion. 

Workplace injuries happen every day. They are an inevitable part of day-to-day work life. As a result, workers in different sectors and occupations are subject to a wide range of workplace injury risks, which can lead to lost pay, lost valuable time, and require lengthy recovery periods as well as high medical expenses.

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Workers' compensation doctors can help with this, as they are the first people to see when you have been injured at work. In this article, we’ll cover everything you should know about workers’ compensation doctors and their role in treating workplace injuries and accidents.

What is workers’ compensation?

Workers' compensation, sometimes known as workers' comp, is a government-mandated system that compensates injured or incapacitated workers while working. It is a type of insurance that provides pay replacement and medical benefits to employees injured while on the job in exchange for their right to sue their employer for carelessness. That is, to accept a workers' compensation payment means to give up your right to sue your employer.

If you are harmed in a workplace accident, there are four types of workers’ compensation benefits you could be owed: medical coverage, wage benefits, vocational rehabilitation, and death benefits if your family member died from their injuries. Also, unemployment benefits and disability insurance are not the same as workers' compensation. Workers compensation only pays workers who are injured on the job

What Are Common Worker Compensation Injuries?

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When people think about worker’s compensation, they predominantly think about severe onsite injuries, usually in very physically demanding jobs. However, people who work in all fields and various business activities can incur serious injuries.

Here are the more common workers compensation injuries:

  • Repetitive strains and sprains
  • Struck by or against an object.
  • Repetitive motions involving microtasks (such as carpal tunnel syndrome).
  • Overexertion
  • Slip, Trip, And Falls
  • Machinery Accident Injuries
  • cuts or punctures 
  • contusions 
  • inflammation 
  • fractures 

What Is A Workers’ Compensation Doctor And What Do They Do?

Workers’ compensation doctors are doctors or physicians who treat people who have been injured on the job. They specialize in occupational injury and work with your company’s insurance to get you back to normal as soon as possible. Their primary responsibility is to the health, safety, and wellbeing of the injured workers and to get them back to work.  Workers' compensation doctors can be doctors listed or recommended by a workers' compensation insurance company, workers’ usual family doctors, or doctors who are asked to evaluate a patient as part of an Independent Medical Exam (IME).

After being injured at work, a workers’ compensation doctor will evaluate and ask specific questions about medical history. The doctor will then analyze any injuries sustained, their severity, the reason, and the treatment you may require in the future. 

Since workers’ comp doctors are not restricted to a particular specialization, you can see these physicians for various workplace-related injuries and accidents. 

Workers' compensation doctors also deal with workers’ compensation cases and claim processes. They conduct medical exams and reports, which will prove your injuries and required treatment, and they will be used to determine if you are eligible for benefits and how much you will get.

How Do Workers’ Compensation Doctors Differ From Regular Physicians?

Like any other highly reputable doctors and Medical practitioners, workers’ compensation doctors are just as qualified and have no significant difference in their competence. The main difference is that workers’ compensation doctors accept patients under a workers’ comp claim program provided by employers and insurance companies. That is, they treat patients and workers who have sustained some form of workplace injury or accident. 

Another significant distinction between workers' compensation doctors and regular doctors is that your insurance company may only accept medical recommendations or medical charges from workers' compensation doctors in their network. If you go to a regular doctor who isn't in your insurance company's network, you could not be covered for your medical expenditures or compensated for some of your lost pay.

Benefits Of Having A Workers’ Compensation Doctor

Workers’ compensation insurance benefits both employers and employees. 

As an employee, one of the most valued and essential benefits of workers' compensation doctors is appropriate and necessary medical care. Its purpose is to assist individuals who have been wounded while on the job. Ensuring that injured employees have their medical costs covered by the employer, including initial doctor’s visit, as well as any medical treatment required after that. In addition, if an injured employee cannot work during the healing process, the law provides for a partial wage replacement. Also, your treating workers' compensation doctor's medical findings and opinions are essential in proving your workers' compensation claim.

On the other hand, as a business owner and employer, your employees are your most valuable asset. As a business, you are responsible for the safety and security of your employees' workplaces, and you may be held liable if an employee is injured on the job. That is why having workers' compensation insurance is so important because it provides financial protection and lowers your chance of a catastrophic financial loss if one of your team members or employees is involved in a severe accident.

Can You Choose Your Own Worker’s Compensation Doctor? 

The ability to choose your doctor to treat a workplace injury covered by workers' compensation is determined by the state in which your claim is filed. In some areas, an injured worker must see a doctor designated by the employer or the firm's workers' compensation insurance carrier.  Other states allow injured workers to choose any doctor within a network, and admission to the network is determined by the state, the employer, or the employer's insurance company.  Rules also vary for choosing a doctor for the initial treatment visit compared to continuing treatment for your industrially related condition. There are also few instances where you may be permitted to choose your doctor, requiring emergency medical treatment due to a workplace injury.

In Florida, for example, because your employer is obligated to pay your medical expenditures if you are hurt on the job, your employer's insurance company will insist that you see a doctor that it has chosen.  

How To Prepare For Your Worker’s Compensation Doctor Appointment? 

If you have filed a workers' compensation claim, you will very certainly be required to attend a workers' compensation doctor appointment as well as attend a workers’  compensation independent medical examination.

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Here’s how you should prepare for your worker’s comp doctor appointment.

  • Examine the information provided by the Employer's insurance company: A letter to the independent medical examination doctor may have been written by a claims adjuster from your employer's insurance company. This letter could outline your condition or injuries, as well as the therapies you have had or are now receiving. You will have an opportunity to address any errors in the information regarding your case if you ask to examine the letter before your appointment.
  • Learn the questions that the physician has been told to ask: The employer's insurers will have indicated the question they want to be answered in their letter to the doctor conducting the independent medical examination. You must understand these questions to prepare effectively. Read your copy of the letter you requested from the insurers carefully and prepare answers to each question.
  • Familiarize yourself with your medical records and List your current symptoms: You will likely be asked about any injuries you have experienced. It would be best if you told the truth about them. Do not try to disguise them or make them seem less critical than they were. Make a point of pointing out any distinctions between your current health and any previous injuries to that body area. In addition to the main areas affected by your injury, make sure you list all of the additional symptoms of the injury you still have.
  • Review of the accident: The doctor will inquire about the injury in further detail. They'll inquire as to how the accident occurred. Some doctors may use tests to ensure you are entirely honest about all of your symptoms. Be honest about your condition. Don’t exaggerate, but also don’t underplay your symptoms. Being honest is essential throughout the entire process.

You will have more success in your worker's compensation doctor appointment if you follow all of these steps in preparation for your medical appointment.

What Should I Do at My Doctor’s Visits to Ensure the Success of My Claim?

Doctor visits for workers' compensation claims are an essential component of the procedure. Assisting your physician in performing their duties will ensure the success of your claim and recovery. Here are a few things you should do at each visit:

  • Be honest: Your workers' compensation doctor won't conduct their job correctly unless they access all the data. Be honest about your accident, injuries, rehabilitation, and setbacks, and disclose any health history or symptoms you may have. False information, especially regarding the nature of your injuries or illness, is grounds for denial at any point during the claims process.
  • Immediately after the workplace accident or injury, notify your employer. In writing, state the dates and times of the accident or other reasons, as well as your intention to pursue workers' compensation payments. Before the 90-day deadline, get something on the record, even if it's an imperfect description of your circumstance. Also, Obtain any workplace policies for reporting accidents, injuries, and illnesses, if possible, and adhere to them as precisely as possible.
  • Inform your workers’ compensation doctor if you have any new or worsening symptoms or injuries. Your doctor will keep track of these injuries, so you have a written trail of your injuries' progress, and they will adjust your current treatment plan as needed.
  • Make copies of your medical records. When it comes to workplace injuries, it's not uncommon for people to see multiple doctors. Keeping a file with all of your medical documents from each visit will be beneficial not just to you but also to your doctor. Requesting medical records from other treating physicians can be a lengthy procedure, so having the evidence on hand can significantly benefit your doctor, and they will be better able to assist you with your treatment.
  • Visit the assigned workers’ compensation doctor. Failure to do this means your claim may be dismissed. If you are dissatisfied with your assigned doctor, you may request permission to see another doctor from your workers' compensation insurance carrier. However, If your insurer refuses to change the doctor, you can now file a form with the Workers' Compensation Commissioner to request a hearing.
  • It's also critical to report for a job your workers' compensation doctor has cleared you for. If you disagree with the Workers' Compensation Commission's assessment of your abilities, you can request a hearing. You must be able to demonstrate that you are unable to undertake the work being provided. Doing this may necessitate a second doctor's assessment and testimony.

Essential Questions To Ask A Physician During My Workers Compensation Visit

During your medical visit, it is essential to ask questions necessary to move forward with the medical procedure and, most importantly, aid the recovery process. Here are possible questions to ask based on your diagnosis, medical treatment, and treatment plan

1. Questions about your diagnosis 

Asking questions about your injury will provide you with adequate information to help you understand how and why it happened and provide future occurrences. Also, Based on all this information, your doctor will determine if your injury was caused by a work-related task or something else.

  • What is my injury?
  • What caused this condition?
  • How can we treat and manage my condition?
  • Are the effects of my condition permanent?
  • What can I do to avoid this from happening again?
  • Can my injury lead to future problems? 

2. Questions about medical treatments

Before having a medical test done, you may want to ask your doctor the following questions:

  • What is the purpose of this medical examination? 
  • What should I do to prepare for this medical treatment?
  • Are there any adverse consequences of this treatment?
  • When will I find out the results of the test? 
  • What can I do while I wait for the results of the test? 
  • Is it possible for me to get copies of my medical records?

3. Questions about the treatment plan

Here are some treatment-related questions you can ask:

  • What is my treatment plan?
  • How long should I take this medication?
  • What are the treatment's side effects? 
  • What if this medication isn't efficacious?
  • Is it necessary for me to eat before taking my medications? 
  • If I'm feeling better, should I quit taking my prescribed medicine? 
  • Are there any warning indications I should be aware of that necessitate immediate medical attention?

How To Choose The Right Worker’s Compensation Doctor?

In states where you can choose your workers’ compensation doctor or surgeon, every step is critical as your health and well-being could be on the line.

There are many essential issues you need to carefully consider when choosing a doctor or surgeon to treat a workplace injury or illness covered by workers’ compensation: 

  • Select an expert physician who can correctly diagnose your work-related injury or sickness. 
  • Choose an expert physician who understands how to treat a work-related injury or illness. 
  • Ensure the doctor gives you all of the necessary evidence for your compensation claim 
  • Ensure the doctor understands how to initiate a workers' compensation claim properly.

At Deuk Spine Institute, we accept patients with any insurance, including worker’s compensation, personal injury, auto accidents, and those with no insurance or minimal coverage. Your insurance provider may not pay for some services provided by the Deuk Spine Institute. Still, we are willing to help steer you in the right direction towards effective, affordable treatment.
If you are suffering from workplace-induced injuries and in need of medical care, send us your MRI scan for a free review or schedule an in-person appointment at our clinic in Florida, and we can determine the best options for you.

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