Medical treatment is one of the most important benefits of workers’ compensation in Chesterfield County. Injury victims covered by workers’ compensation insurance should have all reasonable and necessary medical care that is provided by an authorized treating physician covered, as well as related expenses such as transportation to doctor’s appointments.
An injured person’s doctor is supposed to be in control of medical treatment. Unfortunately, the insurance company has a lot of influence over the treatment injured workers receive, and they can deny care.
In a perfect world, the insurance company would approve all treatments recommended by the doctor, but unfortunately, that is not always the case. If the insurance company denies treatment, the person must file a claim with the Workers’ Compensation Commission asking it to force the company to pay.
It is difficult for people to accept that they cannot choose their own doctor when seeking treatment after a workers’ compensation-covered injury. Another common issue is that workers’ compensation doctors typically treat the injury very conservatively. For example, they may start with just medication or physical therapy. In those cases, it might seem to an injured worker that they are not getting the care that they need.
In Virginia, the treatment recommended by a physician is the treatment to which the injured worker is entitled. They cannot pursue treatment that their physician is not recommending. There is an option to seek a change in the treating physician, but that can be difficult to achieve in Virginia. This is a common reason workers seek help from a workers’ comp attorney.
A medical-only claim is when someone requires medical treatment after a work accident but does not miss work for more than seven days. In Virginia, an injured employee cannot receive lost wage benefits unless they miss more than seven days of work. In these cases, an individual can still receive all necessary medical care for life.
Maximum medical improvement (MMI) is the condition of the patient when their recovery has plateaued. A doctor makes this determination when they do not feel that the patient’s condition will improve any further. Notably, MMI does not mean the worker has completely recovered and is able to work.
If a person has reached MMI, but the doctor says they are not able to return to work, then workers’ compensation should continue to pay them lost wage benefits. Some states have restrictions on lost wages once the person reaches maximum medical improvement, but Virginia does not. If an injured worker reaches MMI but still cannot return to work, workers’ compensation may pay them up to 500 weeks of lost wages.
Most workers in Chesterfield County are covered by workers’ compensation, and the benefits should cover all necessary medical treatment. Unfortunately, many workers run into disputes with the insurance company. They may refuse to pay for certain procedures, or they may disagree about your state of disability. In these situations, you could benefit from speaking with an experienced workers’ comp attorney. Call now to learn how a lawyer can help in your situation.