It’s easy to make small mistakes when you need workers’ compensation benefits. For example, if you fill out a form incorrectly or don’t report certain information to your employer quickly enough, you could have a harder time getting benefits.
Some people need to appeal to get workers’ compensation benefits. Other workers may initially get benefits that they later lose because of a mistake they make as a claimant. Issues ranging from what you post on social media to what you say to human resources at your work could affect your benefit rights.
However, there is a common and simple mistake that you could make when getting care for a work injury that could end your benefits prematurely.
You have to follow your doctor’s instructions
Workers’ compensation will theoretically cover 100% of your necessary medical costs. Anything from surgery to physical therapy may be available to an injured worker to help them get back on the job. Once you start seeing a physician, you have an obligation to follow through with their care plan until you reach maximum medical improvement or are able to return to work.
If you don’t agree with what a doctor recommends, then you need to follow the formal process of obtaining a second opinion. If you do not and just stop going to appointments, your failure to follow medical instructions could end your right to continue claiming workers’ compensation benefits.
The insurance company could use your medical non-compliance as a way to show that you are responsible for the persistent symptoms of your condition. You might lose both medical coverage and disability pay.
Why do workers choose not to follow through with care?
There are numerous reasons why an injured worker receiving workers’ compensation benefits might deviate from their doctor’s recommendations. They may have a fear of surgery that keeps them from scheduling an appointment with a specialist. They may simply worry about the pressure on their personal schedule that frequent physical therapy appointments would create.
Those receiving medical care can request a change in the treatment plan or a change of physicians if they take the right steps. Rather than just ending your treatment, which could end your benefits, it’s important to follow the right protocol when you disagree with the doctor’s recommendations.
Understanding what could affect your workers’ compensation claim can help you obtain and keep the benefits you need during your recovery.