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Delayed medical treatment for workplace injuries can be costly

On Behalf of | Jan 28, 2022 | Workers' Compensation

Seeking medical treatment as soon as possible is crucial for New York workers who suffer an on-the-job injury, even if the symptoms appear minor.

Most importantly, early treatment helps you recover faster. But seeing a doctor shortly after an injury happens also lessens the chances that your employer and its insurer can claim your medical condition isn’t related to your job.

Things to remember after a workplace injury

Reporting and medical requirements are time-sensitive for receiving the optimal workers’ comp outcome. You have 30 days to report the incident to your employer by law. However, it’s usually best to notify them in writing as soon as possible.

Many workplace injuries require emergency medical care when broken bones, cuts, blows to the head or neck and other traumatic injuries occur. However, it’s just as crucial to get prompt medical attention for soft tissue injuries, such as pulling a muscle in your lower back.

Which medical care does workers’ comp cover?

New York State Workers’ Compensation Board rules allow you to be reimbursed for several types of care related to workplace injuries, including:

  • Medical
  • Surgical
  • Medication
  • Assistive devices
  • Dental
  • Optometry

Can I choose my own doctor?

Unless your injury requires emergency medical attention, you must see a NYS Workers’ Compensation Board-authorized provider. Your doctor can likely tell you if they are on the provider list, or you can search the board’s website. Two exceptions exist:

  1. If your employer uses a Preferred Provider Organization (PPO), you must seek treatment from a provider within that program.
  2. Most injured union construction workers must obtain medical treatment from providers under a separate Alternate Dispute Resolution program.

A crucial thing to remember is to be examined by a doctor only if your injuries are within their area of expertise. It may be necessary to see a specialist for a comprehensive diagnosis.

Reduce the opportunity for mistakes

Nearly 90% of workers’ comp claims are approved without incident, allowing workers to get compensation for medical care and a portion of lost wages. However, in 2020, insurers disputed more than 15,000 claims in New York.

That’s why it’s crucial to understand the deadlines and get immediate medical care. It’s also advisable to seek experienced legal guidance before filing a claim to make sure you cover all the bases. You do not have to pay a workers’ compensation attorney out of your own pocket. A judge must approve all legal fees, which come from the settlement or award.