Hey everyone, my name is Dr. Roger Saias, your chiropractor for work injuries in Philadelphia, PA. Today, I’m sitting here with Philadelphia attorney, Jeffrey Schmidt, Esquire, and today we’re gonna talk about what you need to know, what your rights are as a patient if you’ve been injured at work.
So, Jeff, I know that you see a lot of clients who’ve been injured at work and you handle their cases, can you shed some light on just some of the roles, some of the rights that patients have.
There’s so many nuances and details. Can you just shed some light on what a patient should know if they’ve been injured at work? Sure, thank you very much, it’s my pleasure.
Workers’ Compensation in Philadelphia, PA
So workers’ compensation really is a bargain. It’s a bargain between an employee and their employer. And what it is is the employee will get paid quickly, promptly, their lost wages, their medical bills, and they don’t have to even prove whose fault it was, how they were hurt, in exchange for not being able to sue their employer.
And the way it works is after an injury, you really have to tell your employer within 21 days what had happened. And they’re responsible for having done a certain number of things. If they’ve done that, then you have to see their doctors.
The way that it works is they’ll give you a list of six doctors, if they’ve got it, and they’ve given you notice of it, and they’ve had you sign their acknowledgement.
If your employer has done all of that, then you’re bound by seeing one of the doctors that they’ve designated for the first 90 days. And they’re going to treat you and assess you and diagnose you and see what your problems are.
If your employer has not done this, if they have not given you their list and had you signed their acknowledgement and given you notice, then you’re free to see any doctor of your choice.
Now, even so, even if they’ve done everything that they need to to make you see their doctors, that only happens for 90 days. At the end of 90 days, you’re then free to see any doctor that you’re comfortable with.
What happens if they don’t report it within that 21 day period of time, are they still able to treat or what happens if they don’t report it?
Well, in many circumstances, you can extend it. I think the maximum is 120 days, you can still get away with, but it can be challenged. The longer you go without reporting it, the more your employer is going to challenge and ask if you’re sure that an accident happened while you were at work and they’re gonna have a stronger way to challenge whether it did happen, because the normal thing for somebody to do if they’re hurt at work is tell your employer so that they can look into it to make things safer for other employees, to get the claim moving along through the proper channels.
Work Injury Chiropractic in Philadelphia, PA
Here’s a question that comes up in our practice and patients ask all the time. So let’s say they’re injured at work and they really wanna see a chiropractor. They’ve been to a chiropractor before, they know that the chiropractor will help them, but the chiropractor is not on their panel.
Do they still have to wait 90 days to see a chiropractor of their choice if there’s no doctor on the panel?
They generally do because when you’re hurt in a workers’ compensation setting, you are under the care of the doctors as selected by your employer. And it’s going to be up to the discretion of those doctors whether chiropractic treatment is necessary.
They may very well decide that chiropractic treatment is necessary. And if they don’t have a designated chiropractor, you may be able to see one of your choosing.
But if the doctor selected by your employers don’t feel chiropractics are necessary, then you’re gonna have a hard time forcing them to pay for that treatment within the first 90 days.
Got it, that’s really helpful. Another question, obviously you handle workers’ comp cases in your practice. Why would someone even need to call an attorney if they were injured at work. Aren’t they protected by their employer? What does an attorney do to help with the process?
Well, it is an adversarial system. So the moment that you’re filing a claim, your employer and the insurance company is paying your medical bills and they’re paying your wage loss without even having you work and be productive for them.
So it’s in their best interest to force you to go back sometime before you’re ready and their doctors understand that their job is also to find the easiest and quickest way to have you go back to work.
They may very well have you, they have some tools to do this such as independent medical examinations, impairment rating examinations, they can have you do vocational exams. If you don’t know what these things are, that’s even more of a reason why you should have an attorney to protect you from them because once you’ve gone back to work, you’re back to work.
And then if you weren’t ready, then you have to go back out. And then yet you have to prove that you’re back out again because of the original injury.
Work Injury Assessment in Philadelphia, PA
Really what your goal should be is to get better and then go back and be able to do your job. And having an attorney is gonna protect you in order to get you there the quickest, the best, and without having to go back out again.
Yeah, and just talking with patients in our practices, it always sounds like a confusing process, which is why many of them do have attorney representation.
So if you’re watching this video and you were injured at work and you’re not sure what to do, the first thing that you can do is give one of our offices a call. If we can help you, we absolutely will. It’s very important that if you are injured at work, you get the treatment that you need.
And many patients do get better a lot faster while using chiropractic as one of their tools to get better.
So if you’re watching this video and you’ve been injured, give our office a call, we can set up a consultation to see if we’re a right fit for you and if we’re able to help you. Don’t feel like giving us a call, you could send us an email or you can just drop us a comment on this video.
Jeff, I really appreciate you taking the time to do this. And again, if you’re injured at work and you’re trying to navigate the process and you have no idea what to do, there’s amazing people out there like Jeff Schmidt, as well as a lot of different attorneys within the Philadelphia region that can help with your needs.
So I hope this message finds you well, I appreciate you watching. I’ll see you in the next video.