1. MAINTAINING A WORKING RELATIONSHIP WITH YOUR MEDICAL PROVIDERS: In Iowa, your employer and/or their insurance company will most likely choose your doctors and tell you where to go for medical care and treatment. While these medical providers are being paid by the other side, it is important that you keep a good relationship with them. While these doctors may not be nice to you, making accusations, being rude or disrespectful to them will do nothing, but harm your case and cost you money. Remember, they are the ones who will write whatever they want to in your medical records that will eventually be shown to the judge. It is very important that you do not lose your temper and keep your cool. It is okay for you ask questions, but it is unlikely that the doctor will answer all of your questions. Some workers' compensation doctors will be very short with you and simply leave the room instead of answering all of your questions. At some point, it is likely the doctor will tell you they have done everything they can and that you will probably just have to live with your ongoing pain and problems. Do not let this discourage you because there are doctors that we know who may be able to help. It is possible, but not easy to change your medical care, but that is where we can help you not only with your work injury case, but also help get you the medical care and treatment that you need.
2. DO WHAT YOUR MEDICAL PROVIDERS TELL YOU TO: If the doctor tells you to attend physical therapy 3 to 4 times per week and you only go 2 or 3 times per week, then you will likely damage your case and cost yourself money. Medical providers get very upset when you do not do what they tell you to and then come back to them saying you are still hurt. In their mind, if you had done what they told you to, then you would be better. This not only creates problems with your relationship with the medical providers, but also may end up in you not getting better.
3. TELL YOUR MEDICAL PROVIDER ABOUT EVERYTHING THAT HURTS: This is very important not only for your case, but also for proper medical care and treatment. Your medical providers are supposed to keep an accurate and detailed record of your current complaints. However, it is common in work injury cases for a doctor to only treat one of your medical complaints. For example, if you are sent to a hand surgeon for your carpel tunnel syndrome, but are also having shoulder pain then chances are that the doctor will not address your shoulder problems. However, it is very important that you tell the nurse, the doctor, physical therapists, etc. about all of your pain and problems. While you may only being seeing this doctor for your hand problems, you need to tell them about all of your problems so they can document your complaints and potentially refer you to another specialist.
4. BE HONEST AND TELL THE TRUTH: After your work injury you will likely talk to insurance adjustors, your employer, medical providers and perhaps a medical or nurse case manager. During all of your conversations with these people it is very important to tell the truth. Even a small lie can damage your credibility which is a very important part of your workers compensation case. Also, if you always tell the truth then you will not have to worry about remembering what you previously told someone.
5. KEEP NOTES TO DOCUMENT YOUR INJURIES: Along the same lines of always telling the truth, it can be very helpful to keep notes concerning when, how and where you were injured; all of the medical pain and problems you are having; the time you missed from work; and other important parts about your claim. You can bring your notes with you to doctors' appointments and have them available if you are discussing your situation with your employer, the insurance adjustor or the nurse case manager.
These are just 5 tips to increase the value of your case. There are many other things that can be done including getting the help of an experienced and qualified Iowa work comp lawyer. The lawyer should not charge you a fee on the weekly benefits you are currently receiving and many, including our office do not charge you a fee on your impairment rating. Our office does not charge you a fee on any benefits, unless we have do work to obtain them and earn a fee. For more information just call our office to schedule your no cost work injury review.