What Not To Say To Your Workers’ Compensation Doctor

What Not To Say To Your Workers’ Compensation Doctor

If you have suffered a work-related injury that keeps you away from your job, you may qualify for workers’ compensation benefits. However, the Mississippi workers’ compensation system is complex, and securing the benefits you need can be complicated. One of the most important aspects of the workers’ compensation claim process is being evaluated and treated by a workers’ compensation doctor. Clear and honest communication with this doctor is essential, as they will provide their medical opinion on your injuries and whether you can continue working.

If you are trying to exaggerate your injury to get some time off work, the doctor will know immediately and discredit you. Most doctors will be your advocate if you work with them, do what they tell you to do, and not be untruthful. Be honest at all times, and present your symptoms precisely as you experience it.

At Lott Law, our Mississippi workers’ compensation lawyers help our clients navigate each step of the claims process, including communication with workers’ comp doctors. Give us a call today at (228) 215-2787 to learn more in a free consultation.

How Do Workers’ Comp Doctor Appointments Work in Mississippi?

After suffering a serious injury on the job, seeking medical care should be an injured worker’s top priority. According to the Mississippi Secretary of State, injured workers generally have the right to choose their own doctor when making a workers’ compensation claim. During these appointments, a doctor evaluates the injured worker’s condition, documents their symptoms, and provides recommendations for treatment and rehabilitation. Appointments with a workers’ compensation doctor should be approached with clarity and transparency to convey the full extent of the injuries and any associated limitations or challenges that affect the worker’s ability to conduct their job duties.

What Is an Independent Medical Evaluation (IME) in Workers’ Comp Claims?

In some cases, the Mississippi Workers’ Compensation Commission may order an independent medical evaluation, or IME, pursuant to § 71-3-15(2) Miss. Rev. Stat. Ann. (2023). This typically occurs when the commission has reason to believe that a doctor may have made an error when determining the extent or duration of a disabling work-related injury, or when two medical professionals have differing opinions on the injury. 

Independent medical evaluations may be requested when the employer’s workers’ comp insurance carrier disputes the validity of the claim. For example, if the insurance carrier believes that the injury did not occur at work, or is not disabling, they may ask an administrative law judge to order an IME. If the judge grants the request, they may have a doctor of their choice evaluate the claimant to determine the accuracy of their claim. This doctor acts as a neutral third party to resolve disputed workers’ compensation claims.

 

What Should I Avoid Saying During a Workers Comp Doctor Appointment?

When meeting with a workers’ compensation doctor, avoiding common mistakes can simplify the process and help ensure that you receive the benefits you need after a serious work-related injury. Injured workers should steer clear of the following pitfalls during workers’ comp doctor’s appointments.

Exaggerated or False Statements About the Injury

Making exaggerated or false statements about the injury can significantly undermine the injured worker’s credibility and jeopardize their workers’ compensation claim. Honesty and accuracy are both key during medical examinations of any kind. Any inconsistencies or inaccuracies can endanger the claimant’s health and have serious consequences for their workers’ compensation case.

Claimants should be direct and honest about the injury, its symptoms, and its impact on their daily lives. This helps ensure that the doctor has a clear understanding of their condition and can provide them with the appropriate care and support, along with the documentation needed to support the claim. A workers’ compensation lawyer with Lott Law may be able to give you more targeted advice during a personalized consultation. 

Inaccuracies About Medical History

Workers’ comp doctors typically ask claimants about their medical history, including any health conditions or past injuries that could have affected the current injury. Claimants should always speak truthfully and provide all relevant information on past injuries or pre-existing conditions. Hiding this type of information could cast doubt on your credibility and put your claim at a higher risk of being denied. Volunteering information that has not been requested, however, is not generally considered advisable.

Lies About the Cause of the Injury

Lying to a workers’ compensation doctor about how an injury occurred, or any other aspect of a workplace incident, is generally ill-advised. Lies of omission should also be avoided, such as failing to mention key details about the accident that caused your injuries. Any form of dishonesty regarding the cause of the injury is likely to be discovered and may result in a denied claim.

Negative Statements About the Employer

Any statements an employee gives during their appointment can be noted in the doctor’s final report, which could be provided to the employer and their insurance carrier. Even if a worker is upset or blames the employer for their injuries, it is best to avoid voicing these sentiments out loud. Doing so could make the claim more complicated and put the employee in a difficult situation with the employer.

Refusing Medical Treatment or Diagnostic Tests

Refusing the doctor’s recommended treatment regimen or diagnostic tests can be detrimental to the claimant’s recovery and their workers’ comp claim. All recommendations should be followed to maximize your chances of a successful recovery. Refusing treatment can delay your recovery and raise questions about your commitment to your health and your claim. 

Effective Communication Strategies For Workers’ Comp Doctor Appointments

Effective communication is key during workers’ compensation doctor appointments. Here are some strategies that can ensure clear and productive communication between patients and physicians:

  • Provide Detailed and Specific Information – When describing the injury and any symptoms, always provide detailed and accurate information. Specific details help doctors make precise diagnoses and create comprehensive treatment plans.
  • Ask Questions and Seek Clarification – Actively engage with the doctor by asking questions about the diagnosis, treatment options, and prognosis. Seeking clarification improves your understanding of your medical situation.
  • Communicate All Changes and Developments – Any changes or developments in your condition should be reported to the doctor as soon as possible. This includes the onset of new symptoms or the worsening of existing ones. Up-to-date information allows a doctor to adjust the treatment plan as needed.
  • Nurse Case Managers – Sometimes, the employer will hire a nurse case manager to come to appointments with you or manage your care. This is okay, within reason. As a lawyer we like these managers sometimes to smooth out the treatment process and advance treatment forward. But it’s really important not to allow the nurse case manager in the appointment with the physician or medical provider and not to discuss the case with them.

Discuss Your Injury With Our Mississippi Workers’ Comp Lawyers

Are you worried about securing workers’ compensation benefits after suffering a work-related injury? The team of experienced Mississippi workers’ compensation lawyers at Lott Law is here to help you with all steps of the claims process, including meeting with a workers’ compensation doctor. Get in touch with us today at (228) 215-2787 to discuss your workers’ comp claim in a free consultation.