Can You See Your Own Doctor If You Are Hurt on the Job in Massachusetts?
If you are injured on the job, one of the most important questions will be whether you can see your own doctor. While you can usually choose your own doctor after a Massachusetts workplace accident, there are some issues.
Choosing your medical provider is only one hurdle in getting treatment after getting hurt on the job. In some cases, you might need to visit an employer-approved doctor for your initial visit. However, some doctors are turning away patients because of the dysfunction in the Workers’ Compensation system. Even if you are entitled to receive care, some healthcare providers might not accept Workers’ Compensation insurance as payment.
For a free case evaluation with our Workers’ Compensation attorneys, call the Law Office of John J. Sheehan today at (617) 925-6407.
Can You See Your Own Doctor After Being Injured on the Job in Massachusetts?
Getting Workers’ Compensation benefits can be a challenge in Massachusetts as the system is often seen as ineffective and wasteful for injured workers. Even if a worker is entitled to such benefits, it might prove difficult to obtain the necessary treatment under Massachusetts regulations. That is why it is crucial to hire a Workers’ Compensation lawyer in Massachusetts immediately after an injury on the job. This will increase the chances of receiving timely and appropriate treatment for injuries without further harm.
Having a Workers’ Compensation claim in Massachusetts means the freedom to choose a preferred medical provider. However, if the employer or their insurance company has a “Preferred Provider Agreement,” the first appointment must be at one of the preferred facilities. Afterward, appointments can be scheduled with the chosen physician. Failure to follow this procedure might jeopardize the Workers’ Compensation claim and lead to problems for many injured workers.
Problems with Getting Medical Care After Being Hurt on the Job in Massachusetts
It can be difficult to receive medical care without proper legal support, especially in the current climate, as some medical professionals might refuse Workers’ Compensation as payment. This is due to the fact that the compensation rates for doctors who accept Workers’ Compensation are often quite low, resulting in less payment for the treatment they provide compared to Medicare, which is already known for its low rates. Unfortunately, this puts the burden on the injured worker who is simply seeking quick access to necessary treatment.
Finding a doctor who will treat an injured worker can be a challenge nowadays as there are fewer providers available for Workers’ Compensation claims. This search can result in the worker missing more time from work and potentially making their injuries worse. For example, if surgery is needed and not performed soon after the injury, permanent damage can occur. Hiring an attorney to act on the worker’s behalf can help overcome some of the obstacles preventing proper treatment.
It is possible that the healthcare provider is not the only obstacle to obtaining entitled benefits. If the employer is preventing the worker from filing a claim or doubts the validity of the injury, seeking legal advice might be necessary. Employers typically prefer to pay insurance benefits rather than face a lawsuit to determine compensation in the case.
How Our Workers’ Compensation Lawyers Can Help Your Case in Massachusetts
If you are filing a Workers’ Compensation claim in Massachusetts, it can be helpful to have a lawyer by your side. Although it is not mandatory to hire one, having legal representation can assist you in navigating the system and dealing with any issues that might arise. Our team is able to provide guidance in various ways, including those listed below:
File Your Workers’ Compensation Claim
If you have received medical attention, we can help you navigate the process of filing your Workers’ Compensation claim. It is important to understand that, in Massachusetts, it is the responsibility of the claimant to file their own claim, which might not be widely known. Although your employer is required to inform their Workers’ Compensation insurance provider of your injuries, it is up to you to handle the rest, including being aware of crucial deadlines for filing. This can be challenging for those who do not have experience with the claims process.
To avoid costly delays or having your claim denied, it is essential to provide all necessary supporting documents and ensure that there are no errors in your paperwork. We are here to help you review your case, identify any missing evidence, and guide you in obtaining it. By having well-organized and complete evidence, you can confidently submit your claim and increase the chances of it being approved.
Appeal Your Claim If It is Denied
If your Workers’ Compensation claim is not approved, employers and insurance companies are required to provide a valid explanation for their decision. Our firm can assist you in challenging this decision. If the denial is due to clerical errors, we can gather the necessary paperwork or complete the filing forms correctly when resubmitting the claim.
If your claim is rejected for valid reasons, you have the option to appeal the decision. Keep in mind that seeking legal guidance does not guarantee a favorable outcome. Your appeal will initially be reviewed by a Workers’ Compensation judge, with the possibility of further appeals to the Massachusetts state court. However, it is critical to remember that if the underlying reasons for the denial are not addressed, the judge or court might uphold the rejection of your claim.
Determine Whether Filing a Lawsuit is Necessary
In certain situations, Workers’ Compensation might not be an available option. Although Workers’ Compensation generally disallows individuals from suing for work-related injuries, there are certain injuries that are not covered and require a lawsuit in order to receive compensation. For example, independent contractors often need to file a lawsuit since they are typically not covered under their employer’s insurance. Similarly, if your injuries were caused by a third party not liable to your employer, a lawsuit is usually necessary.
Of course, you might need to file a lawsuit simply to get your healthcare underway. With the number of doctors turning injured workers away, legally or otherwise, it is often necessary to file a lawsuit to compel medical providers to give treatment. With a lawsuit filed, it might be possible to recover compensation to cover your medical expenses. In some cases, you might be able to get medical care while waiting for a settlement or trial award to come in.
Our Massachusetts Workers’ Compensation Attorneys Can Help
Call the Law Office of John J. Sheehan at (617) 925-6407 for a free case review with our Boston Workers’ Compensation lawyers.