Imagine that you’ve been injured on the job in Georgia. If you’re reading this, then perhaps you have been. You haven’t broken any laws and you’re not under arrest, so you might not think that what you say “can and will be used against you.” Yet, it absolutely can and will. Worse yet, what you don’t say can and will be used against you. It is very common for injured workers to fail to address every aspect of their injuries in the initial medical exam, which can cause real problems and obstacles for you down the road. Consider the following examples:
- You fall from a height in a ‘fall to lower level’ workplace accident, perhaps off of a ladder or scaffolding. As you impact the floor, you fracture your arm. This is naturally your primary concern. You seek immediate treatment for this injury and this is the sole focus of your initial medical examination after the injury. You completely fail to mention that you are also experiencing pain in your back.
- Your job requires that you lift and maneuver heavy objects, like boxes of products, for example. You strain your back while lifting one object, causing immense pain. This pain causes you to drop the heavy object on your foot. You may have broken or sprained something in your foot, but the pain in your back is so severe that it takes center stage. You see the doctor for your back and fail to mention the pain in your foot.
In both of the above examples, you have more than one injury, but only one was addressed at your initial medical exam. Of course, you will end up seeking treatment for those other injuries, once your immediate concerns have been addressed. The trouble is that your Georgia workers’ compensation claim is going to be a much more difficult uphill battle when the insurance provider refuses to cover those other injuries on the grounds that you didn’t mention them in your initial medical exam, so they were likely not caused by your workplace accident.
In fact, your treating physician may even refuse to treat those other injuries because the doctor is approved by the workers’ compensation insurance company, which will notify him or her that they have no intention of covering any treatment for the injuries that you didn’t discuss at the initial medical examination. This likely goes against everything you believe about physicians. If you tell your doctor that you are experiencing severe pain from your workplace accident, you would expect the doctor to treat you for the injury. It may come as a complete shock to find the doctor refusing to do so because the workers’ compensation insurance company won’t pay.
What Do You Do if This Happens to You?
If this happens to you, there are a couple of things that you can do about it. To begin with, you should contact an attorney, because at this point, you will certainly need one. You can also seek treatment for your other injuries at the emergency room. Your workers’ comp doctor may even suggest that you leave their office and call 911 for emergency care to address your injury.
Of course, the best thing that you can do if you think you have a workers’ compensation claim in Georgia is to contact a Georgia workers’ compensation attorney right away. The attorneys at The Law Office of John B. Jackson have faced many similar situations where employees make seemingly minor mistakes by saying the wrong thing or failing to say all the right things at their initial medical exam following the incident. We can help you to avoid these mistakes altogether, and if you’ve already made them, we can help you to mitigate the damages and take all the necessary steps to ensure that your injuries are covered.
Remember That You Don’t Need Permission to Seek Treatment
Another common mistake that is made by employees who have sustained workplace injuries is to seek permission from a supervisor to seek treatment. Then, if you don’t get that permission, you might think that you are not authorized to seek medical treatment, and it won’t be covered.
The reality is that your employer (if there are more than three regular employees where you work) must have workers’ compensation insurance and also post an approved panel of physicians. All you have to do is view this posted panel of physicians, choose one, and set up an appointment. You don’t need permission to do this. If your injury is of an urgent nature, you may also need to visit an emergency room; and you don’t need permission to do this either.
If you cannot find a posted panel of physicians and your employer does not assist you with this, then you may have a right to seek treatment from a physician of your choosing. However, you should not do this without first discussing your options with a Georgia workers’ compensation attorney. There are many mistakes that you can make in the first few steps that you take to seek treatment and file for workers’ compensation. You can avoid most of them with the help of a dedicated Georgia work injury claim lawyer. So, call The Law Office of John B. Jackson today for a free consultation.