Seeking Medical Treatment After a Workplace Injury in Tucker
If you have been hurt at work, you are probably entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. All state employers who have at least three employees must participate in the worker’s compensation program.
Worker’s compensation benefits provide you with no-cost medical care as well as a weekly payment for the time that you were unable to work. However, in return for these benefits, there are rules you must follow and deadlines you must meet. Skilled legal counsel in Tucker could help ensure that you comply with all the regulations that govern seeking medical treatment after a workplace injury.
Report and Seek Care Immediately
A worker who suffers an injury on the job should immediately report the mishap to their supervisor or the human resources department. Although the law gives injured employees 30 days to make a report to their employer, the employer’s workers’ compensation insurer is likely to question the integrity of an employee’s claim if there has been a considerable lapse of time between the date of the alleged injury and the date of the report.
The employee should also seek medical care promptly. A medical record generated soon after an alleged injury provides better evidence that the injury is work-related than one generated later. If an employee does not seek immediate care, the employer or their insurer might allege that the injury was not related to the employee’s work and is not eligible for benefits under workers’ compensation.
Comply with Choice of Provider Requirements
The Official Code of Georgia Annotated §34-9-201 requires employers to maintain a list of approved healthcare providers. Employees in Tucker who suffer work-related injuries must seek their initial treatment from one of the employer’s approved providers. However, employees may receive treatment from an emergency room in medically appropriate cases.
Employers can choose one of two options. They could maintain a list of at least six healthcare providers that an employee may choose from, but at least one of the approved providers must be an orthopedic physician if they choose this option. Alternatively, an employer may contract with an approved workers’ compensation managed care organization. If the employer selects that option, an injured employee must seek initial treatment from a physician associated with the managed care organization.
Employers do not always inform injured workers that they have a choice of providers, but they instead direct them to seek treatment at a particular office. In other cases, the treating physician might refer an employee to a specialist, but the employer could direct the employee to a specialist of their choice. Both of these scenarios are common, but neither complies with the law. An experienced attorney could ensure that an injured employee can choose their physician from the employer’s list and receive continued treatment from the specialist that their physician selects.
Changing Physicians is Possible in Some Circumstances
Although the law requires an injured worker to seek initial treatment from an employer-approved physician, the worker has some options once treatment is underway. If the worker is dissatisfied with their initial choice, they may choose a different physician from the employer’s list.
Once the employee is in treatment, the treating physician may make a recommendation about when the employee could return to work. If the worker disagrees with the recommendation and has received a weekly benefit within the preceding 120 days, they could seek a second opinion from the doctor of their choice.
An injured worker could lose their right to workers’ compensation benefits if they are non-compliant. Workers who disagree with a medical opinion or treatment plan could consult a lawyer for advice about how best to proceed.
Retain Legal Assistance When Seeking Medical Treatment After a Workplace Injury in Tucker
The workers’ compensation program offers many valuable benefits, but taking full advantage of those benefits requires you to comply with the rules. Employers are not always clear about explaining an employee’s rights and obligations under the program. It is beneficial to have legal assistance when seeking medical treatment after a workplace injury in Tucker.
A competent attorney could be a big help as you try to maneuver through the system. Contact a lawyer today.