How to Get Medical Treatment for Workers’ Compensation in Massachusetts
If you were hurt in a workplace accident, you may need proper medical care in order to fully recover. This care should come in the form of workers’ comp benefits, but sometimes insurance companies are reluctant to pay claims
For help with your case, speak with a compassionate attorney who understands medical treatment and workers’ compensation in Boston. A skilled lawyer could fight to make sure you receive the right medical care and the benefits you deserve.
Common Workplace Injuries and Treatments
Workers compensation claims in Boston may be the result of a variety of injuries, including soft-tissue injuries such as sprains and strains. Injuries could involve the discs in the spine, at the cervical, thoracic, lumbar, or sacrum level. Joint injuries might involve tendons or cartilage such as meniscal tears in the knee or rotator cuff tears in the shoulder.
In construction and roofing work, employees are exposed to serious life-threatening safety hazards. Construction workers may fall from heights or from staging that failed, especially if the staging was not properly installed or there was no fall protection. Those kinds of accidents may result in fractures, traumatic brain injuries, and other injuries requiring surgery.
The injured worker may need surgery to repair the fracture using a procedure called open reduction and internal fixation (ORIF), which involves placing metal plates and screws to treat the fractured bone. Sometimes, the individual may have a subsequent surgical procedure to remove the metal hardware if it is causing pain.
Repetitive Trauma Injuries
Cumulative trauma injuries occur when employees perform work activities that require them to do the same movements over and over again. Think of a secretary who is constantly typing at a computer keyboard or an assembly line worker in a warehouse who is constantly reaching. Over time, these repetitive movements may result in serious injuries such as carpal tunnel syndrome or rotator cuff injuries. Even though it occurred over time and not as a result of a single event, repetitive trauma injuries are covered by workers’ comp.
Repetitive trauma injuries such as carpal tunnel syndrome and rotator cuff injuries are treated in a variety of ways, such as physical therapy, anti-inflammatory medication, appropriate pain medication, steroid injections, and surgery.
Insufficient Medical Treatment
Sometimes, an injured worker has surgery and returns to the doctor for post-op visits. While the worker may feel some improvement, oftentimes he or she still has a lot of pain, weakness, and limited range of motion. After a few visits, the doctor may suggest the person return to work, even though the condition has not fully healed. The surgeon may be basing his or her assessment that the patient is able to return to work based on statistics rather than the condition of the injured worker.
For example, sometimes people have shoulder surgery to repair a rotator cuff tear. Following surgery, the person may experience a complication called adhesive capsulitis or frozen shoulder. Unless it is treated properly and in a timely fashion, recovery can be a prolonged process, and in some cases, it requires a subsequent surgery to free up the frozen shoulder and break up the adhesions. Following that, the injured worker will have to start the rehab process all over again with aggressive physical therapy, home exercises, and possibly steroid injections to prevent a reoccurrence.
Sometimes, a people find their surgeons dismiss their reports of complications and pain after the surgery. In those situations, a person who is represented by a workers’ compensation lawyer can get assistance finding a qualified surgeon for a second opinion and evaluation. The new surgeon might even take over the treatment and give the individual the care the previous doctor did not provide.
An injured worker might feel the treatment is insufficient if he or she is treating with a preferred doctor or clinic of the insurance company who follows the company’s protocols and does not listen to the patient’s reported pain symptoms. The insurance-preferred medical provider may arbitrarily decide that injured workers should return to work, regardless of their reported pain symptoms.
A medical only claim means a person was injured and requires medical treatment, but the injury is not disabling. In those situations, the person does not lose time from work. An example is a laceration that requires a visit to the emergency room, stitches, and possibly a tetanus shot. After the stitches are removed, the person may not require further treatment. The injury is not to the level that is disabling.
Speak With a Boston Workers’ Compensation Attorney
Medical treatment is an important part of workers’ compensation benefits in Boston. If you are unsatisfied with the care you received, or you are having difficulty negotiating with insurance, contact a skilled attorney today. A workers’ compensation lawyer could be your advocate and fight for fair benefits on your behalf.