Workplace injuries are much more common than you might think. Everyone from a janitor to an accountant or a construction worker is more or less prone to suffer a workplace injury at some point during their careers.
Luckily, after a workplace injury, you may not have to worry about your medical expenses or lost wages – workers’ compensation should cover all of those expenses.
An essential part of the workers’ compensation process is seeing your treating physician for the first time. The doctor will examine your injuries and treat them accordingly. In addition, they will establish a disability rating that will determine the amount of money you will receive during your claim.
Now, you should know that there are some questions you must ask your doctor after a workplace injury. These questions will help you understand the extent of your injuries, their possible long-term effects, and what you should do to recover as soon as possible.
What are my injuries?
This is the first thing you should ask when talking to your treating physician for the first time. Many doctors may not tell you the actual extent of your injuries unless you ask about them.
Then, the doctor will list all of your injuries and explain them in great detail. Don’t be afraid to ask follow-up questions and take notes of any important information. This is the only way you will know exactly what you are dealing with.
Are these injuries likely to cause long-term or permanent disability?
Minor injuries usually heal in a matter of weeks or months. But certain injuries, even some that seem insignificant at first, can impact your health for the rest of your life. So, you should ask the doctor if your injuries are likely to result in long-term or permanent disability.
The doctor’s answer will significantly impact your claim. Through workers’ compensation, you may receive temporary or permanent disability payments. However, the doctor’s opinion will be crucial in determining your eligibility for these benefits.
When can I return to work?
Here is another common but critical question. You should always ask your doctor when you will be able to go back to work. In some cases, you may only need a few days of rest before returning to the office. But if you suffered a severe workplace injury, this could take months or even years.
However, you should not force yourself to go to work until you feel you are ready. If your doctor recommends that you return to work, but you still feel weak or in pain due to your injury, you may need to get a second medical opinion before going back.
Will I have limitations when I return to work?
Depending on your profession, a workplace injury could affect your ability to continue working in the same way. For example, let’s say you’re a construction worker and you suffered a severe back injury. Now, you may not be able to lift weights like you used to, or you may feel exhausted after a few hours of work. In these cases, you might want to consider switching to a completely different work field.
Be sure to ask your doctor if you will face any limitations when you return to work. Some of these constraints may be temporary, but they could also change your life entirely. You should be aware of this from the beginning.
What’s my treatment plan?
After the doctor understands the extent of your injuries, he or she will determine the treatment plan you must follow to get back to normal. At this point, you should ask all the questions that come to mind about each step of your treatment. Will you need to take any prescription drugs? Is there a chance you will need surgery later? Will you need to go to physical therapy? Will you need to see another specialist to treat a specific condition?
You need to understand everything you need to do to recover as soon as possible.
Can you provide copies of my medical records?
Finally, you should always ask the doctor for a copy of your medical records. This will be an essential piece of evidence during your workers’ compensation claim. These records prove that your injuries are work-related and that you need monetary compensation to deal with your medical expenses.
Also, your workers’ compensation attorney will need a copy of your medical records to build a strong case on your behalf.
The doctor should have no problem providing a copy, but you must ask for one.
What should you do after seeing a doctor?
After meeting with your treating physician for the first time, you should consider calling a Los Angeles workers’ compensation lawyer, such as C&B Law Group, for a free initial consultation.
The attorney will guide you through each step of your workers’ compensation process. Furthermore, after reviewing your medical records, the attorney may advise you to seek a second medical opinion to confirm your diagnosis.
Most of the time, working with an attorney may help you maximize your workers’ compensation settlement. So, do the right thing and work with an attorney to get the best possible results.
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