The previous articles in this series on helpful hints to prepare you for a workers’ compensation injury have focused on things you can do before your injury ever occurs. However, there are also some things to be prepared for after an injury occurs. As a Georgia workers’ compensation attorney, one of the things I run into most often that I would encourage people to avoid is seeking treatment for their work injuries on their personal health insurance.
Why people use group health insurance for medical treatment of a work injury
When people contact me about an injury at work, sometimes they have already sought medical treatment for a work injury on their health insurance instead of under workers’ compensation. The have usually done this for one of two reasons. Some people think that the work injury was going to be very bad so they just go to the doctor under personal insurance. They may be afraid that their employers would let them go if the injury was reported as a workers’ compensation injury.
In my experience, it is very difficult to tell how severe a work injury is going to be before you have seen a doctor. Sometimes, injuries that seem minor end up being severe. I would recommend that you report the work injury as a workers’ compensation injury from the very beginning. This can save you a lot of trouble later.
Another common reason that injured workers have used their health insurance to get medical treatment is that they have been told by their employers to file a work injury on group health insurance. This may occur because the employers are concerned that a workers’ compensation injury will increase their insurance rates.
While I certainly understand that you do not want to harm your employer or your employer’s business, it is important for you to look out for yourself when you get hurt at work. Your employer will certainly be looking out for their own interests. If the injury happened at work, it should be filed on workers’ compensation. Also, Georgia law requires almost all employers with three or more regular employees to have workers’ compensation insurance so that injured workers can get the medical treatment they need to recover from their work injuries.
Regardless of the reason that you might want to consider putting medical treatment for your work injury on your health insurance, you should almost never do it. Even if you do not think it is a severe injury, you should still report it to your employer as a work related injury because injuries that may seem minor at the start often end up being severe. When you start getting treatment for an injury on group health insurance, doctors often do not take down the details about the injury happening at work. This can lead to your workers’ compensation case being denied by your employer or their workers’ compensation insurance company later because the doctor’s medical records do not indicate that the injury happened at work. If you file your work injury as a workers’ compensation claim from the beginning, you will be better prepared and better protected.