One of the most important considerations for any worker injured in a Shelton workplace accident is immediate medical treatment for your injury. You will want to receive all necessary medical care to repair your injury and to help you return to work safely without aggravating your condition or re-injuring yourself. Sometimes, your workplace injuries will heal quickly. Other times, your injuries will be longer-lasting and even permanent. The nature and extent of your workplace injury will determine whether you can return to work right away, whether you need some time off for recovery, or whether you face life-lasting disabilities and cannot return to your prior job. In each instance, the extent of your necessary medical care will be different.
Assuming that your workers’ compensation case is accepted, your medical bills will be completely paid. Your bills should be sent directly from your doctor to your employer or to your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance carrier. You are not responsible for the payment of your work-related medical treatment bills.
You are entitled to copies of your medical records for your treatment. You are also entitled to have any prescription medications paid for through workers’ compensation. You are entitled to reimbursement for mileage and other related expenses. Additionally, you are entitled to receive wage replacement benefits for the time spent receiving medical care and treatment.
Under Connecticut’s workers’ compensation laws, your employer can select the medical facility or hospital for your initial medical treatment. You must go to this care provider first. Then, after your initial treatment, you are enabled to designate your “attending physician,” who is the doctor that will treat you for the remainder of your case.
Seeing a New Doctor
Treating with a new doctor can cause anxiety. You may not have the same degree of trust and comfort as you do with your primary care physician. If appropriate for your workplace injury, you can use your primary care physician as your attending physician. Many of our Shelton clients have established relationships with their own primary care physicians. This doctor knows their medical history. They feel comfortable with this doctor’s treatment recommendations. It makes sense that they would obtain treatment for their workplace injury with their primary care physician.
Of course, depending upon the severity of your workplace injury, you might require treatment from a specialist. If the nature of your injury mandates that you treat with a specialist – for example, an orthopedist or a neurologist – you must treat with the specialist.
You must receive your medical treatment from physicians that are approved by the workers’ compensation system. If you obtain treatment from a doctor or other care provider that is not approved, your treatment will be considered not authorized and will not be paid. Worse, you may jeopardize your eligibility for additional benefits. Ensure that your medical treatment is fully approved.
You do have the right to change your attending physician. Sometimes, you can do everything correctly but still not receive an optimum result. In these cases, you can change your treating doctor within certain limits. You can change your attending doctor by:
- Getting a referral from your attending to another physician and/or a specialist.
- Obtaining approval to switch treating doctors from your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance carrier.
- Obtaining an administrative recommendation from the Administrative Law Judge through a hearing.
Whenever you want to change your treating doctor, you should be able to provide specific reasons why you need a new treating doctor, and you should be able to specify the new doctor that you want. Poor treatment results alone may not warrant a change.
Many of our injured Shelton clients are requested to submit to an examination by the employer’s selected physician. Unfortunately, this is permissible. Your employer has the right to request that you submit to an examination known as a Respondent’s Medical Examination, or “RME.” Even in an otherwise accepted claim, your employer can challenge your need for further medical treatment, your need for surgery, your need to remain out of work, or the extent of your claimed permanent injury. The employer makes this challenge through the RME process.
You have some protections when you undergo an RME. The request must be reasonable. Excessive travel is not required. Conflicts of interest are not permitted. If there is excessive travel obligations or a verified conflict of interest, the employer will need to select a different examiner. Furthermore, the written report of the RME physician must be furnished at the same time and in the same manner to both employee and employer within thirty (30) days.
Get Help Today!
If you suffer a workplace injury in Shelton, you have the right to receive all necessary medical care and treatment. Moreover, after you complete your initial medical treatment, you have the further right to select your “attending physician” for the remainder of your treatment. If appropriate, you can choose your primary care physician as your attending. If you are a Shelton worker injured on the job and you have questions about your medical treatment for a workers’ compensation claim, please contact our attorneys. We are here to help.