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Workers’ Compensation and Dealing with Doctors

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A Workers’ Compensation Lawyer Can Help You Navigate Doctors and Treatment

Pennsylvania workers' compensation lawyersA doctor can have a huge impact on your workers compensation claim, and you’ll want an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer on your side to help you navigate the process. After you suffer a workplace injury and file a workers compensation claim, your insurance company will send you to a company-approved doctor for an exam. This doctor will give you an Independent Medical Exam (IME), and is meant to be a neutral third party who can assess your injuries. 

However, these doctors are still hired by the insurance company, so you need to be wary. Their intentions might not be the most altruistic in helping you seek help for your injuries. Insurance companies are not quick to hand out compensation for injuries, and these doctors are another way for them to deny your claim. 

To help navigate this process, you’ll want an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer by your side. An experienced lawyer at Munley Law can help you from start to finish; and we’ll fight to make sure you get the compensation you deserve.

Choosing a Workers’ Comp Injury Doctor in Pennsylvania

One of the most common questions people have after being injured at work is can they go see their own doctor. The answer varies state-by-state. In Pennsylvania, the PA Workers’ Compensation Act requires your employer to provide an approved list of providers for you to see. 

The list must also (among other things):

  • Include a minimum of 6 providers, 3 of which have to be physicians 
  • Make available physicians or providers with specialties in the potential injuries most common at the workplace 

Also, you (the worker) are able to pick any provider you like from this list; your employer cannot choose for you. You can also see one, then seek a second opinion or go to visit a different one on the list as well. 

What Not to Say in Workers’ Comp Medical Exam

Even if you have received treatment and diagnosis from your personal doctor, it’s likely the insurance company will want to verify these with an “independent” doctor of their choosing. These doctors usually have experience treating workers compensation patients. While they are qualified doctors, you want to be prepared before going in for your exam. 

Before you are treated for an Independent Medical Exam, you want to speak to an experienced Pennsylvania workers compensation lawyer. A lawyer can help you understand the process before and after the exam. They can also give you advice on what to do during the exam, including:

  1. Tell the truth. This is imperative. While you may be nervous, or assume if you divulge specific info they won’t agree with your claim, honesty is always the best policy. These doctors have seen it all, and if they think you’re telling a lie, even a small one, they can deny your claims. 
  2. Don’t speak ill of your employer. Your injury happened while on the job, so you may have warranted negative feelings about your workplace. This doctor’s appointment is not the place to air those grievances. Keep your personal feelings about work to yourself and stick to the details and facts of this specific injury.
  3. Don’t exaggerate the effect of your injury. This goes along with telling the truth. An experienced workers compensation doctor can tell when you’re embellishing your injuries. Even a small exaggeration can greatly impact your workers comp claim.  

FAQs: Seeking Workers’ Compensation for a Job-Related Injury or Illness

Q: My employer’s insurance company wants me to undergo a medical examination. Should I agree?

No, not without first speaking to a workers’ compensation attorney. If you agree to undergo this medical examination, you will likely waive some important rights, and you may be giving the insurance company access to your private medical information. Also, since the doctor has been selected by the insurance company, his or her examination may not necessarily be focused on ensuring that you receive the best possible long-term care.

Q: Can I go to my own doctor for treatment of my job-related injury or illness?

While you do not have to submit to the insurance company’s medical examination, under Pennsylvania law, you are required to choose from a list of doctors approved by your employer for your first 90 days of medical treatment. Your employer must provide at least six options, and it cannot direct you to any one healthcare provider. If you are not provided with a list, then you can see your own doctor, but you want to be certain that this is okay since seeing your own doctor “inappropriately” could negatively impact your workers’ compensation claim.

Q: How long does it take to receive workers’ compensation in Pennsylvania?

If your employer and its insurance company handle your claim appropriately, you should begin receiving benefits in about three weeks. However, if your claim gets denied, you could be facing months of delays and appeals.

Get an Experienced Workers Comp Lawyer

At Munley Law, our attorneys can help you understand your rights, and we will fight to make sure you receive the benefits you deserve as soon as possible. 

When our father founded Munley Law in 1959, he promised to always fight for workers and their families. More than 60 years later, we still honor his commitment today. Our philosophy is simple. We treat our clients as family and we fight for them the way we’d fight for our own. At Munley Law, our workers’ comp lawyers never fear taking on major industry and insurance players. While you focus on your recovery, we will handle the rest. To see how much compensation a Munley Law workers’ comp lawyer can win for you, schedule your free consultation today.

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If you think you may have a personal injury case, contact us now for a FREE consultation.

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