Oftentimes in workers compensation cases we, as attorneys, see a drastic difference in the success rate of claims based upon the doctor that someone chooses to work with. Now clearly there are many factors that go into the success of a workers compensation claim and I’m certainly not saying there is a 100% correlation between great doctors and successful claims. There are so many outliers and minutia that goes into BWC claims that we could be here forever. But I don’t want to write a book on it and I would imagine that you don’t want to read said book.
The key starts at the first place that you are seen post-injury, whether that be an emergency room, urgent care, your family doctor, a chiropractor, or the guy practicing medicine out of his house and you aren’t real sure he even has a license. You must emphasize that you were HURT ON THE JOB. Make certain that it goes in their office note and printout. Too many times I have run into doctors initial reports that don’t mention a work injury, or worse, specifically state that it did NOT happen at work. This is often a form question they ask, and if you are not clear, they are going to assume it didn’t happen at work.
After your initial encounter with a doctor, if you were seen at an ER or Urgent Care (UC), then it is time to pick your physician of record (or POR for short). This will NOT be the ER or UC. Again, this person can be a chiropractor, an M.D., a D.O. or even sometimes a CNP who is supervised by another doctor. If you are unsure where to go for your type of injury, contact your attorney’s office and they will assuredly be able to point you to the right doctor to take care of your injury. Remember, the medical professional you pick as your POR will have quite possibly the greatest impact on your claim as anyone. And you need to pick one who DOES THE PAPERWORK. Ask them point blank if they handle BWC cases on a regular basis and if they are willing to do the necessary paperwork.
When claims get bogged down, it is often because the doctor involved doesn’t want to put the time in to do the paperwork and BWC claims are paperwork-driven. If they are not willing to do C-9s, C-23s, Medco-14s, office notes, rebuttals, etc, you need to find someone who will. And if you don’t know what those forms are, that’s okay. That’s your doctors job. But if you ask them and they don’t know what those forms entail, just say thanks and start heading for the door.
Remember that MOST family doctors out there will not handle BWC claims. There are M.D. groups who specifically handle occupational injuries. Chiropractors are a fantastic option because they have handled BWC claims before and are willing to do the paperwork. You need to be comfortable with them no matter who you choose. Take care in choosing a doctor and you will have a much more positive experience with the BWC.