A reader asks:

I sprained my ankle at work and my employer has been taking care of my workers comp. however I have a question. can my employer force me to have my follow-up appointments and therapy appointments on my own time, or can I schedule them during my normal work schedule?

This is a common question of our clients and readers. The answer is it depends. If the doctor or therapist that you want to see only has appointments available during your working hours, your employer has to allow you to take off time to get the treatment that you need.

On the other hand, if you work until 5 p.m. and need physical therapy and your provider is open until 7 p.m., your employer can tell you that you have to go after working hours. That’s not a great choice for a lot of people, especially if you have a family you want to hang out with, but one thing we’ll never do is tell you the answer you want to hear, we’ll always tell the truth.

The good news is that we do find that most employers are flexible on this issue as the big majority of them want their employees to get better and back to working without problems. Other times we encourage clients to work with their therapists on a home rehab program if possible. I myself tore my rotator cuff and went to one physical therapy appointment. I was given home exercises and only followed up with the therapist one more time after that to check my progress although I saw the orthopedic doctor five times. That doesn’t work for everyone, but worked for me and many others.

Finally, I am a big believer in life that you don’t get what you want if you don’t ask for it. If your works starts at 9 a.m. and your doctor isn’t in until 8:30 a.m., it doesn’t hurt to ask if he will come in at 8 a.m. so he can see you and give you enough time to make it to your job site. Business hours aren’t set and many doctors do actually give good customer service. If you’ll ask for it.

We are workers’ compensation attorneys who help people with Illinois work injuries anywhere in IL via our statewide network of attorneys. Contact us and we will answer your questions or find the right lawyer for your situation.

By Michael Helfand