Most people don’t understand the power workers’ comp doctors have on their claims. Unfortunately, workers’ comp doctors often work closely with the insurance company, meaning they may downplay your injuries and cause you to receive a denial of benefits. If you aren’t aware of what to say and what not say to a workers’ comp doctor, you could be left without the benefits or treatment you need.
Can You Select Your Own Doctor?
After a work injury, your employer’s insurance company may require you to see a doctor for an independent medical examination (IME). An insurer may even request that a doctor examine you as often as every 60 days.
You may be concerned about the medical provider they will use. After all, your primary care physician knows you and your body best. Fortunately, in California, you can change doctors if you are unsatisfied with your treatment, but there are caveats to doing so.
Many workers’ comp insurance companies prefer injured workers to see doctors who are employed by them to handle medical reports. In most cases, the injured employee has the right to change doctors once. After that, however, the insurance company must approve any changes to the doctor.
Don’t Be Rude or Difficult
When you see a doctor for your work injuries, do your best to be polite and cooperative. Walking into an IME with the workers’ comp insurer’s doctor may put you on edge, and you may be rightfully wary. But don’t be hostile or argumentative. If you do exhibit such behavior, the doctor may report it and it could lead to suspicion that you aren’t being honest about your injuries.
Don’t Exaggerate Your Symptoms
One of the primary reasons the insurance company may have you examined is to determine the severity of your condition. It may be tempting to act like things are worse than they really are; however, you should be honest about your condition, including any pain you experience. If you lie about your symptoms or exaggerate, you may lose credibility and damage your chances of obtaining workers’ comp benefits.
Don’t Lie to the Doctor
Be completely honest about all of the symptoms you are experiencing and how they impact your life. Don’t try to claim that you’re experiencing symptoms that you aren’t. If the doctor determines that you are lying, this will hurt your claim significantly.
Don’t Disparage Your Employer
It’s possible that you may harbor resentment against your employer after your injury, especially if they are challenging your claim. But even if your employer was to blame for not having safety features in place, it’s important to avoid speaking badly about your employer. The doctor will likely document your statements, which will get back to your employer. Don’t say anything to your doctor that you do not want your employer or supervisor to read.
What Should I Discuss With the Doctor?
Your workers’ comp doctor needs to understand the facts surrounding your injury. They will want to discuss how to injury occurred, your condition, your symptoms, and your goals.
It’s important to provide accurate medical records, as the doctor will likely comb through them to ensure there are no discrepancies. Make sure to discuss any changes in your symptoms (such as pain increasing or decreasing), change in the areas in which you feel pain, change in the type of pain, etc. Keeping your doctor updated regarding these changes will ensure that your medical records are accurate.
Learn More About What to Say and What Not to Say to a Workers’ Comp Doctor
Don’t hurt your case by making mistakes with the doctors involved in your case. At Dewberry Law, we can help you understand what to expect when dealing with workers’ comp doctors. To learn more, speak to a workers’ comp attorney in Pasadena CA today.