1. A Monmouth County workers’ compensation attorney can help you timely report your injury at work: In Howell, New Jersey an injured worker must report an on-the-job injury within 90 days. Failure to do so can be a complete bar to getting compensation for the injury. Insurance companies deny many cases in Toms River a year because of reporting issues. Don’t make your case one of them. Even if you think the injury is minor it should be reported to your supervisor immediately after the injury. The earlier an injury is reported the more likely it will be considered a legitimate compensable injury. If possible, the injury should be reported to your supervisor the day of the injury or within five days of the injury.
1. Seek Reasonable Medical Attention Soon After an Injury at Work: If you were injured while employed in Jackson Township or anywhere in New Jersey you will be required to prove that you were injured in an accident at work. Proving this becomes more difficult if you do not seek reasonable medical attention soon after the event. Insurance companies will believe that this must be a sign that you were not significantly injured. In short, if you were not hurt badly enough to be treated, you were not hurt badly enough to be compensated. A second reason to seek medical attention is that accident injuries sometimes arise only after days or weeks have passed, but may be detected by the doctor if examined shortly after the accident.
1. Be Totally Honest with Your Doctor about Medical History and Personal Habits: The accuracy of your diagnosis and treatment depends on your honesty with your doctor. However beneficial to you or your case it may seem at the time, any lack of honesty, when exposed in court, will seriously weaken you credibility and therefore your case. If your doctor bases his diagnosis on false or incomplete information, the diagnosis can be called into question and rejected. You can be sure that this will catch up with you, and potentially destroy your case.
1. Talk to Your Doctor About Medical Issues not Your Case: You may be curious and ask your doctor about legal aspects of your case; don’t! Reserve these questions for your lawyer. Asking your treating physician legal questions or discussing your employer with him/her only creates negative implications in your medical records and may complicate and negatively impact your case. Remember that what you say in confidence to your doctor is NOT protected information once you have filed a claim in court.
1. Be On Time and Consistent in Attending Your Medical Appointments: This is similar to number two. If your medical records reflect a pattern of missing appointments, your commitment to your treatment as well as the severity of your injuries can be called into question. Always give 24 hours notice to reschedule an appointment.
1. State Your Pain Accurately in Your Medical Records: Pain is invisible to everyone but you, and must be substantiated in your case by someone other than you. Your medical records need to document your experience of pain due to your injuries, and for this to happen you must tell your doctor about your pain. Keep a daily record or journal of your pain and share it with your doctor so it can be officially documented. Do not exaggerate, but do not downplay either.
1. Inform Your Doctor of the Effect of Your Injury on Your Work: Inapposite to number 4, is telling your treating physician about your pain and limitations. Just because you know that your work has been affected, doesn’t mean that the insurance company or judge will know it. If they read about it in your medical records, it is suddenly real and substantiated. Share THIS information with your doctor, keeping track of it as you do your pain – in a daily record or journal so you don’t distort (for better or for worse) your experience.
1. Take Your Medications as Prescribed and Get Maximum Medical Treatment: This is a problem for patients in workers’ compensation cases and in personal injury cases as well. By stopping your medication early, taking it sporadically, or otherwise not heeding the directions, you compromise your health and your case. Share valid reasons for modifying your medication (side effects, interactions) with your doctor. Insurance companies and judges interpret your termination of treatment as a sign that your injury must be healed. They are also prone to interpret large time gaps between treatments as a sign that the injury at work has healed and the second treatment must be for a new, different, or unrelated injury.
1. Follow Treatment Recommendations Even When Depression or Anxiety Makes it Difficult: Pain and/or disability are common causes of depression or anxiety. These conditions are treatable, but only if you share the symptoms with your doctor. Sharing with your doctor is also the only way to substantiate these conditions in your medical record. This is important, as psychological problems from the physical injury at work often figure prominently into workers’ compensation cases.
1. Track Your Medical Treatment: It is essential that your lawyer know all of your medical care providers and every procedure that you have undergone after an injury at work. It is equally important to keep track of doctor’s orders, treatments, referrals, and work restrictions. This information is most easily managed by keeping a medical file on your injury. You should place all medical records relating to an on-the-job injury into a file and give them to attorney at Riviere Advocacy Group handing your case.