Being injured on the job is never a pleasant experience, whether it’s a sudden injury or one that develops over time. Often times, the one thing people have going for them is the possibility of worker’s compensation benefits through their employer. The injury may require specific treatment and therapy – or even surgical intervention – but at least you know it’s covered, since the injury occurred on the job.
This isn’t necessarily true. Many worker’s compensation claims fail, even if the injury was entirely legitimate – and many legitimate workplace injuries go unreported. Why is this? The answer is that many people have misconceptions about worker’s compensation. Here are three of the most common:
1. The clinic will report the injury to my employer
Many employees who are legitimately injured on the job don’t actually notify their employer. This seems like an obvious step, but people who sustain on-the-job injuries often notify their medical provider, assuming this will be enough to set the worker’s compensation process in motion. It’s true that some employers have specific workers compensation arrangements with a specific clinic, and the medical staff will be highly efficient in reporting the injury to the employer’s insurance provider.
This assumption should never be made. Even if you’re certain that your employer has a workers compensation agreement with an urgent care center or other clinic, you should still make it a point to notify your employer directly (even in writing) after you’ve received adequate medical care. A lack of communication is one of the main reasons why so may workers compensation claims fall through the cracks.
2. My injury doesn’t entitle me to worker’s compensation
This is a common assumption, especially amongst office workers who sustain injuries to the hands and wrists (e.g. carpal tunnel syndrome). People might also develop lower back pain as a result of spending long hours every day in a chair – but they’ll often assume this type of injury “doesn’t count.”
It’s important to remember that traumatic on-the-job injuries, such broken bones or concussions, are definitely not the only way to receive worker’s compensation. Many successfully processed workers comp claims involve more subtle and progressive injuries. It’s important to take note of any injury you may have sustained on the job, and talk to your doctor/employer about whether a workers compensation claim is relevant.
3. I can see any doctor I want for my workplace injury
In some states, this is accurate – but in other states, your employer and/or workers’ comp insurance carrier decide which doctors or clinics are involved. This is yet another reason why it’s so important for employees to have a comprehensive understanding of their employer’s worker’s compensation program, how it works, and which doctors/clinics can be visited for the treatment of workplace injuries.
Find an experienced clinic for your workers’ compensation
There are highly reputable urgent care clinics out there who specialize in occupational medicine and worker’s compensation. Look for clinics that demonstrate a specialty in these areas, and talk to some of their existing clients. This will help you find a provider who knows the process inside and out, and understands how to make things easier for your business and your employees.