State workers compensation laws make it possible for an injured worker to change doctors after initial treatment has begun. Many states require an employer to post a list of eligible medical providers at the job site. The employee is free to choose the physician and facility for medical attention. Most states have a procedure for changing from a specified medical provider to one of the employee's choice. You may need to file a written request to change medical providers with the State Worker Compensation Board. It's important to understand your rights and the specific requirements for medical care according to the compensation laws in the state where you work. Consult an attorney who is familiar with workers compensation law for more information.
Most on-the-job injuries are covered by worker's compensation. The system is designed to provide benefits to injured workers, whether an injury is caused by the employer's or the employee's negligence. There are some limits. In general, injuries resulting from employee intoxication or involving the use of illegal drugs are not covered by workers' compensation. There are other situations in which workers' compensation will not pay medical expenses or lost wages. They include self-inflicted injuries, injuries suffered while a worker was committing a serious crime, injuries suffered while an employee was not on the job and injuries suffered when an employee's conduct violated company policy.
Most state laws concerning workers compensation allow an injured worker to select his or her own doctor in certain circumstances. The law also makes provisions for getting a second opinion, if you do not agree with the diagnosis or treatment you received from the physician selected by your employer and the insurance company. Most states have a procedure for changing from one medical provider to one of the employee's choice. Generally, the employee may be required to file a written request with the Sate Workers Compensation Board in order to receive permission for a second opinion. The law varies on this point from one state to the next. Consult an attorney knowledgeable in workers compensation law, if you wish to have a second opinion on your case.
If your workers' compensation claim is denied, you have the right to appeal the decision at several levels. The first level of appeals is more of an opportunity to resolve disputes than it is a formal court action. Don't be afraid to ask questions at these hearings, if you're handling your own case. If you have a permanent or long-term injury related to work, then pursuing the claim for compensation will probably be a difficult task. You can expect other complications, too. It would be in your best interests to hire a lawyer who specializes in workers' compensation law, rather than trying to handle complex appeal on your own.
Filing a workers compensation claim is easy, and it does not involve suing your employer. You or your employer or the physician who treated you can report the industrial injury to the state agency which administers the workmans' compensation law. Your employer should have claim forms available. The state agency will make a report to the insurance carrier. The carrier then has a short period of time, usually ten to thirty days, within which to decide if the claim is valid. If accepted, the doctor's fees and any disability payments are paid according to a fee schedule set by the state. If you are temporarily unable to work due to the injury, you'll begin receiving checks to cover your wage loss. The payments typically begin within two weeks after your claim is approved. Your employer will notify the insurance company to discontinue the wage-replacement checks as soon as you recover and return to work.
Employers may legally give prospective employees medical exams to make sure they are physically able to do the job. However, there are very strict rules about how and when these sorts of tests can be conducted. Employers cannot require medical or legal examinations before offering an individual a job. Employers are free to make an employment offer contingent upon the person passing those particular tests. The American with Disabilities Act requires that all test results be kept separate from personnel records and there are a limited number of individuals who have the right to see the medical files of employees. Employees can be required to take physical or psychological tests only if there is a reason to suspect an individual is endangering the health and safety of the workplace.
The insurance company is required by law to pay for all medical treatment an employee needs resulting from a work related injury or illness. This holds true even if the treatments continue after the employee has returned to work. Ongoing treatment should be paid for life. An attorney who is well versed in the workers' compensation laws of the state will be able to help you. If your work-related injury or illness is quite severe you will want to seek expert advice.
If you are injured on the job, you'll need to notify your supervisor and the personnel department immediately. A report of your injury must be filed with the State Division of Workers Compensation. Failure to notify your employer in a timely fashion may be reason enough for the insurance company to deny payment of the benefits, even if you have been seriously injured. Workers compensation benefits are available to you even if the injury was your fault. You'll need to provide the names of all witnesses and a description of how the injury occurred. This is particularly important in cases involving exposure to chemicals, pesticides, asbestos or other toxic substances. Once you have obtained medical care, you'll need to complete a claim form detailing the extent of your injuries and costs for the treatment. Accepting workers compensation benefits does not disqualify you from other pension and disability programs.
To be covered by workers' compensation, an injury must be caused by a sudden accident, or an injury must be due to a repetitive action on the job. For example, dropping a crate on your foot is a sudden accident, and lifting fifty pound boxes all day every day is a repetitive motion that can cause back strain. Also covered are pre-existing conditions that could be aggravated by workplace conditions. For instance, emphysema could be made worse by airborne chemicals. Employers may require prospective employees to take a medical examination to make sure they are physically able to do the job. Employers may not require medical exams before offering an individual a job. However, they are free to make a job offer contingent upon the person passing a medical exam. During a medical exam, a company assigned doctor may ask any questions about a person's health or medical history. However, the final evaluation is only supposed to include one of three possible conclusions: able to work, able to work with restrictions, or not able to work.
If you have a regular doctor, you should inform your employer that you wish to be treated by that physician in case of an injury on the job. This request must be in writing and be sure to keep a copy for your personal files. Remember the company approved physician is more likely to take a conservative approach to the diagnosis and treatment of your injury. Pre-selecting a physician ensures that your worker's compensation claim will not be jeopardized
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