Most people who suffer a serious workers compensation injury have not had to deal with workers compensation before. They do not know all the ins and outs of how it works. They just want to get better and go back to work.
Unfortunately, you really have to understand the workers compensation system to get what you want. If you do not, you will not receive the benefits you should and recover completely from your injury.
Insurance companies and the insurance adjusters understand how the process works. The will likely contact you soon after the injury to request information from you. They will also probably provide you with some information about the benefits you should receive.
Will they tell you everything you need to know about workers compensation? It is not very likely.
Your workers compensation injury costs the insurance company money. It costs them money when you see the doctor. It also costs them money when they mail you a check when you are out of work.
Because your case costs them money, they may not want to share all the information they have with you. In other words, they may keep secrets. Because of that, it is important you make sure you are as informed as you can be or hire someone to represent you who really understands workers compensation.
Here are a few secrets that the workers compensation insurance company may not share with you:
You can choose your doctor (with some limits)
Doctors are one of the most important parts of your workers compensation case. They diagnose your injury and work on treating you to get you better. They also address questions about what work you can do while you are injured.
Most people who call me after a workers compensation injury end up seeing a doctor picked by their employer or the workers compensation insurance company. They do not know that they have the right to pick their doctor.
How much of a right you have to choose your doctor depends on whether your employer followed the workers compensation doctor rules. If your employer followed the rules, you will have to pick from a limited list of doctors. But, if your employer did not follow the rules, you may get to pick any doctor you want to treat your injury. If you want to find out more about picking a workers compensation doctor, this article I wrote talks about the process in more detail.
You get reimbursed for your mileage to medical appointments
Often, you have to do a lot of traveling to medical appointments after your injury. Gas is expensive and the costs of travel can add up when you need to see doctors and physical therapists.
Luckily, Georgia’s workers compensation law provides that you get reimbursed at forty cents per mile for your travel to and from doctors and other medical providers. Unfortunately, many people do not know about their right to get reimbursed. Find out more about how to get reimbursed for your mileage here.
You can change your workers compensation doctor
Many people get frustrated with their workers compensation doctor. Some of the common things I hear from people about problems they are having include:
- The doctor will not listen to me
- The doctor is not doing anything to get me better
- It takes too long to get in and see the doctor
- The doctor’s office is not working to get my treatment approved
So, is there anything you can do when you are not getting the treatment you need from your doctor? There are a few ways that you can get your workers compensation doctor changed. If you want to learn more about that, take a look at this information on options for changing doctors.
You have a right to a medical second opinion
Sometimes, you do not need to change your doctor but you do want a second opinion. This can be especially useful if you like your doctor but are uncertain about a surgery being recommended.
Other times, you may need to use a second opinion to try to get your doctor changed. Find out more about medical second opinions in workers compensation cases.
There are many tricky (and unfair) deadlines that can cause you to lose your case
This is probably one of the most important secrets that the workers compensation adjuster may not share with you. Georgia’s workers compensation laws include a number of deadlines. When you miss these deadlines, it can cause you to lose most or all of your workers compensation rights.
One of the most unfair deadlines that I talk to people about is the change in condition statute of limitations. It often really hurts people who have severe injuries but manage to go back to work even though they continue to have problems. This law ultimately prevents people from getting additional benefits for being out of work if they have a two year gap from when they last got benefits for being out of work. I speak to many people about the dangers of this deadline.
The change in condition statute of limitations is just one of the deadlines that you have to worry about. This article talks about a number of the other deadlines that can apply in your case.
What else do I need to know?
These are just a few of the things that you may not get told about workers compensation by the insurance adjuster. There are others that are important to know as well.
One of the most important “secrets” to know is that you should talk with a workers compensation attorney if you have suffered a serious injury. Having this discussion makes sure that you do not miss anything that you should know.
Make sure that the attorney you speak with provides you with a free consultation. Our law firm always provides free consultations in workers compensation cases.