You asked: “I know someone who got hurt at work. Her insurance got complicated because she waited to get medical care and then she didn’t see the “right” doctor. So I was wondering, what are you supposed to do if you get hurt at work — so you don’t mess up your Workers’ Comp coverage?”
If you are hurt while performing your work duties during a scheduled work time, you are eligible for Workers’ Compensation Insurance to pay for medical and “lost time” expenses. Here is a quick look at what you should do in the first hours and days following an injury:
1) Report the accident to your supervisor immediately.
2) Get medical attention:
(a) If it’s a true emergency (can’t breathe, excessive bleeding or loss of consciousness), your supervisor will decide if you need an ambulance or if someone from work can drive you to the nearest ER or urgent care facility.
(b) If it’s enough to require doctor’s care, but not urgent, you will be given a list of “panel” doctors approved by your employer. (If you decide to visit a doctor that is not on the panel, you run the risk of losing all Workers’ Compensation Insurance benefits as well as your own personal insurance benefits.)
(c) If a little first aid will do the trick, you can probably deal with it easily on site — but you still need to report it!
3) If your injury requires professional care:
(a) Be sure to tell the caregiver that your injury is work-related!
(b) You will leave the doctor’s office with paperwork, including a “return-to-work” slip. Be sure to give that to your supervisor so the claims process can begin.
4) Depending on your injury, the doctor will decide what you can and cannot do:
(a) You may be cleared for return to full duty.
(b) You may be assigned to “Light Duty” or “Transitional Work” until you are fully recovered (if so, your supervisor will guide you through that process).
(c) If your injury is significant, you may be required to miss work for a time.
5) Expect calls from a Claims Coordinator and/or an Insurance Adjuster. They will assist you in scheduling follow-up appointments and will make sure that your bills are sent to the right people for payment. They will be a good resource should you have questions throughout the process.
6) Keep you supervisor up-to-date through the recovery period.
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