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You probably know to give any new doctor you see a complete medical history. Doing so will ensure your doctor is aware of any underlying causes related to your health, preventing misdiagnosis or repeating treatments that have already failed.
When you’ve been in an accident at work, telling your doctor everything is about more than just good care — it can also make the difference in whether your workers’ compensation claim is approved or denied. Employers and insurance companies review all medical records with a fine-toothed comb in an attempt to find a way to reject a claim. Too often, they succeed because the injured person waited too long to report their injuries or did not tell their doctor about the initial accident.
If you’ve been injured at work, you should see a doctor immediately. When you do, take care to explain the accident happened at work, how it happened, and all pain or injuries you are experiencing as a result. To maintain continuity in your medical files, you’ll also want to repeat this process during every subsequent visit to your doctor.
That means if you have a doctor’s visit to discuss your knee injury, you also need to mention that your shoulder still hurts from the same accident — even if you think your doctor already knows. Otherwise, the insurance company will try to use your medical records as evidence that your shoulder injury is either resolved or unrelated and, therefore, not eligible for compensation.
If you don’t see a doctor immediately, or fail to tell them all the facts, the insurance company or employer will use it against you. They’ll claim there’s no proof your injuries occurred at work, using your medical records as evidence you did not report a specific injury or accident until days or weeks after it occurred.
In the event your claim needs to go to trial, medical records can make or break your case. Judges will give great weight to anything your doctor has written, because they are considered an impartial third party and a reliable source of the facts.
Hopefully, you will never experience an injury at work, but if you do, know your next steps. Don’t sell yourself short and let the insurance company win — see a doctor and tell them everything.