Tell Your Doctor
February 14, 2012
By John C. Merlino, Esq.
If you get hurt on the job and need medical attention, make sure your doctors know the details as to how you got injured at work. This information will assist your doctor and you with any claim you may be filing due to your injury. So refer your doctor to your employer’s workers compensation insurance policy — and leave your own private insurance card in your wallet.
Aside from filing a claim for Workers Compensation benefits, you may be entitled to further benefits under the law. By having your doctor properly document your medical reports as work-related, it will also assist you with any additional benefits under the law.
Consider the case of our client, a construction worker who fell from a ladder at a New York City construction site. Let’s call him Jim. Jim has waited more than a year for the medical treatment he needed to get better and on track to get back to work. His fall caused an injury to his shoulder, specifically a torn rotator cuff, a painful and debilitating injury that required surgery. But Jim didn’t know to tell his doctors that his injury was work-related. Worse, he gave hospital staff the information from his own personal insurance plan, instead of advising the staff that he was injured on the job. You can’t depend on the doctor’s office or hospital staff to know everything or to proper document injury.
Jim eventually filed a claim for workers compensation. He also had the right to file a lawsuit for the unsafe work conditions that had caused his injuries. But because of the delay and confusion caused from his initial treatment, he would now have to prove that he was hurt at work before the insurance carrier held by his employer would pay for his medical care. Which delayed Jim from receiving benefits while he was disabled from working and which delayed the progression of his third-party lawsuit. Jim’s private insurance also refused to pay for his surgery and treatment because they found out his injury was work-related — issues that had to be resolved at the Workers’ Compensation Board.
Jim eventually won his case. However his employer’s workers’ compensation carrier appealed and his claim got further delayed until a final decision was made by a Board Panel at the Workers’ Compensation Board.
If you are hurt on the job, say so to any medical staff or provider who helps you. Refer them to your employer’s workers compensation insurance plan and leave your own private insurance card in your wallet.
Dinkes & Schwitzer is dedicated to protecting the rights of the injured against insurance companies and big corporations. With over 80 years of Courtroom experience we’ve recovered hundreds of millions of dollars for our clients and we may be able to help you too. Our lawyers, including William Schwitzer and John C. Merlino are strong-compassionate activists for many labor organizations and their members - they will fight for what you deserve. Visit us at: www.dandsatlaw.com or call: (718) 781-8389 or (212) 683-3800.