One of the more frustrating situations we see in workers’ compensation law is when someone has a legitimate injury but is told they’re completely fine. The worker might be hearing this from their boss, or their employer’s insurance company, or even from a doctor affiliated with their employer. Why would they do this? Because injured workers cost them money.
Some employers have a rule that an injured worker has to be seen at a particular doctor’s office or a company clinic. Obviously, that doctor is going to be a bit biased toward the company. They know that it’s in the company’s best interest if you aren’t hurt because then they won’t have to pay workers’ compensation benefits.
You can imagine how frustrating this is to an employee who gets hurt on the job. It’s frustrating for us, too. Our job is to look out for injured workers and their rights, and these types of situations are the exact opposite: employers looking out for only themselves and their bottom line.
The good news is that you don’t have to continue to see the company doctor or go to the company clinic. States have different rules on this, and in Illinois injured employees are allowed to choose their own doctor. Go to a doctor you know and trust, or one that has been recommended by a reliable source.
Your doctor’s opinion on how you were injured, why you were injured, what treatment is best and what you need in order to recover, are central to your workers’ compensation case. Your doctor’s credibility is extremely important. A doctor who is essentially a hired gun of the employer is not going to have the final say, as long as you have a trustworthy doctor in your corner.
Along these same lines, don’t use your lawyer’s hired gun either. Don’t let your attorney direct your medical care or send you to some doctor they send all their clients to. Sure, it might get you a favorable report, but in the long run it will hurt your case. The people who are a part of the local workers’ compensation law community, including the arbitrator who is essentially the judge in your case, will know exactly what’s going on. And the result is that they won’t trust the doctor’s opinion and they might not trust you, either.
Your health should be your first priority. If you know something isn’t right, don’t get discouraged if you get brushed off by the company doctor. Go get a second opinion. And if you are worried about pursuing a claim and what it entails, talk to an experienced lawyer about your concerns. A free consultation is a good place to start, and it’s completely confidential.