What to Do When You Are Injured at Work

If you get hurt at work in Wisconsin, you might be wondering how to explain your injury to your doctor. You might wonder how much information you need to give them, or whether you really need to explain facts that could end up hurting your case. In fact, you might be someone who avoids going to the doctor’s office and might be wondering whether it’s even necessary to seek medical treatment at all for your work injury.

It is important to fully explain your injury and symptoms to your doctor because medical records are vital evidence in worker’s compensation cases. These are general recommendations for talking with your doctor about your work injury.

Seek Medical Treatment Promptly to Establish a Work Injury History 

Even if you think your work injury is minor, it is better to err on the side of caution and see a doctor. This is not only beneficial for your own health and well-being, but it establishes a written record that you were treated for your injury shortly after it occurred.

If you don’t report or seek medical treatment for your injury until several weeks or even months after it occurs, the worker’s compensation carrier may suspect this injury did not really occur and use this as evidence to deny your claim. If your case proceeds to a hearing, an Administrative Law Judge may also disbelieve your testimony if there is no written evidence to back up your version of events.

Tell Your Doctor Exactly What Happened 

When seeking treatment for your worker’s compensation injury, you should tell your doctor your injury is work-related and explain specifically how the injury occurred. This is important for three reasons:

1. If your claim lacks medical support, there is a greater chance that your worker’s compensation carrier will deny your claim early on.

2. If your worker’s comp claim gets denied and proceeds to a hearing, it is important that the medical records accurately document what occurred so that the Administrative Law Judge understands and believes your testimony of what happened.

3. Your doctor will likely look back on their notes from your appointments when it comes time for them to complete the necessary paperwork for your worker’s compensation case. Doctors see hundreds of patients each week and cannot reliably remember all of your case details, so it is important that these notes help them understand what happened.

Tell Your Doctor Everything 

It may be tempting to leave out information that you may feel is detrimental to your case. For example, you may worry that the worker’s compensation carrier will automatically deny your claim if they find out that you had a prior injury to the same body part. However, you should always be honest about your situation.

Not only will your honesty with the context and details of your injury help the doctor understand your health needs better, it will look much worse if this information comes out later on in your case. It will also be better for your worker’s compensation attorney to know any negative facts up front so that she can prepare for them, rather than having this information be unexpectedly revealed later on.

Note Every Symptom at Each Doctor Appointment 

An injured worker may – understandably – be focused on only the body part that is causing them the most trouble. For example, imagine a worker who fell and hurt her back and shoulder, but experienced pain primarily in her shoulder after the injury and only had a minor ache in her back. She may neglect to tell her doctor about her back symptoms until after her shoulder pain has resolved.

This can cause a problem similar to when a worker fails to seek medical treatment promptly. The worker’s compensation carrier will look at this “new” injured body part with suspicion because no reports of pain to that location had been previously reported in the medical records.

When you see your primary care provider or a provider who treatments multiple areas of your body (such as a pain management doctor), it is best to at least mention each part of your body that is injured, even if there has been no change in your symptoms in that area.

If Your Wisconsin Worker’s Compensation Claim is Denied, We Can Help 

Even if everything is documented properly in your medical records, the worker’s compensation carrier may still deny your claim. If your claim has been denied, contact one of our experienced worker’s compensation attorneys to discuss your situation.

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