If you are injured in a Stratford workplace accident, you will need to receive immediate medical treatment for your injury. Doing so maximizes your ability to return to work quickly and safely without aggravating your condition or re-injuring yourself. Sometimes, your workplace injuries will heal quickly. Other times, recovery is more complicated. The nature of your injury determines if you can return to work immediately, if you need some time off for recovery, or if you face life-lasting disabilities and cannot return to your prior job.
Fees You Don’t Pay in Workers’ Compensation
When you get medical treatment under workers’ compensation, your bills will be completely paid on your behalf. Your medical bills should be sent directly from your doctor to your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance carrier. You won’t be responsible for the payments your work-related medical treatment bills.
In addition, you can receive copies of your medical records. You are also entitled to have any prescription medications paid for through workers’ compensation. You should be reimbursed for anything related to your treatment or care. Perhaps most importantly, you can receive wage replacement benefits for the time spent receiving medical treatment. You should not lose wages because you need time off from work for your medical treatment.
The Right Physician
Your employer designates the medical facility or hospital for your initial medical treatment. You must go to this care provider first. Then, after your initial treatment, you can pick your “attending physician,” who is the doctor that will treat you for the remainder of your case.
If appropriate for your injury, you can use your primary care physician as your attending physician. Many of our Stratford clients have long-term established relationships with their 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.
Changing Your Doctor
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 alone usually does not warrant a change.
Respondent’s Medical Examinations
Many of our injured Stratford clients are requested to submit to an examination by the employer’s selected physician. Unfortunately, this is entirely permissible. Your employer can request that you submit to 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.
Injured Stratford workers have several protections when they undergo an RME. The request must be reasonable. Excessive travel is not required. Conflicts of interest are not permitted. The employer will need to select a different examiner if there are excessive travel obligations or a verified conflict of interest. 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 30 days.
If you suffer a workplace injury in Stratford, you have the right to receive all necessary medical 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 injured while working a Stratford job and you have questions about your medical treatment for a workers’ compensation claim, please contact our attorneys. We are here to help.