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Discussing your Maryland work injury with your doctor

Talking to your doctor about your work injury is extremely important to your workers’ compensation claim.  First, and foremost, workers’ compensation claims in Maryland are heavily dependent and determinative on medical records.  What you say and how you act with your doctor will be depicted within the medical records.

It is also important to understand two things about medical treatment for a work injury.  In Maryland, you have the right to choose your own doctor.  Second, it’s important to understand that your doctor is your advocate and will decide the treatment plan for your injury, provide work restrictions, and guide you through recovery.

PROVIDE YOUR DOCTOR DETAILED INFORMATION

Medical records and the doctor’s opinions are so vitally important to your workers’ compensation claim. That is why it is so important that you provide your doctor with detailed information.

What information?

Make sure the doctor has enough information to provide a strong opinion. First, explain in detail how the work injury occurred.  Details, details, details.  For example, let’s assume you injured your back lifting a box.  Don’t just tell your doctor you hurt your back lifting a box.  Tell your doctor how high you were lifting the box, how much the box weighed, that you twisted your back when lifting, that you were lifting from the floor, that you lifted and threw the box  . . . you get the point.  The more details you provide the strong the causation opinion by the doctor.

ALWAYS BE TRUTHFUL WITH YOUR DOCTOR

Overstating, or otherwise exaggerating symptoms, can be detrimental to your claim.  If your doctor believes you are exaggerating your symptoms, then your doctor is far less likely to be supportive of your claim.  Doctors can tell when they do tests whether patients are exaggerating.  If you exaggerate your symptoms, your doctor will note that in the medical record.  The insurance company and their attorney will see that notation.  Just be truthful.  Exaggerating your symptoms undermines your credibility.  Additionally, the Commissioner that hears your case will also see that notation.  Be mindful that exaggerating your symptoms does not lead to more money, but can harm your case.

DO NOT HIDE PREEXISTING CONDITIONS OR INJURIES

Pre-existing conditions are NOT a bar to workers’ compensation benefits.  So do not lie or omit from telling your doctor you had prior problems or treatment.  The insurance carrier will ask and inquire about preexisting conditions, treatment, and injuries.  They will also get extensive medical records.  Omitting facts undermines your credibility with the insurance carrier, which will lead to a denial, and ultimately to the Commissioner. Believe me, the insurance carrier will find out if you had prior medical treatment. It also undermines the doctor’s opinion if you did not disclose it to the doctor.

ALWAYS TELL YOUR DOCTOR ABOUT ALL YOUR SYMPTOMS

It is common to focus with your doctor on a body part that has intense pain.  For example, you are at work and you slip and fall, landing on your right knee and you also felt a tweak in your back.  When you go to your doctor, your focus is on that intense right knee pain.   You forget to tell the doctor about your low back, because at the moment, it was not hurting as much as the right knee. A few weeks down the road, your back is really starting to worsen.  The insurance carrier is going to be skeptical and may deny medical treatment because there was no mention of the low back at the initial treatment visit.  You know you hurt it during the fall, but it was not documented because you focused on the right knee pain at the time.

Make sure to report ALL injuries, not just the most intense.  Don’t worry about how minor it feels at the time.  Get it in the record.  Again, some body parts tend to worsen over time.  Use this rule with notice to your employer as well.  When you report the injury to your employer, be sure to report all body parts that you injured.

DO NOT SKIP MEDICAL APPOINTMENTS

Finally, be sure to attend all scheduled medical appointments and physical therapy appointments.  If you cannot attend one get it rescheduled right away.  Missing appointments can be harmful to your case.

If you have been injured at work, do not risk it alone.  Call Mooney Law for an absolutely free consultation.  Call today at 301-329-3630.  We stand ready to fight for and protect your workers’ compensation benefits.  ALSO, COMING NOVEMBER 1, 2022, Mooney Law will be opening a brand new full-time office in Reisterstown, Maryland to better serve our Baltimore and Carroll County clients.   You can also email us to schedule an appointment at info@mooney4law.com and visit our website at Mooney4law.com.