If you are injured at work and require immediate medical attention, you’ll likely head to the nearest emergency department for care. Since you have not yet started the injury claim process, will this visit to the emergency room be covered, or will you have to foot the bill? We explain how emergency room visits and other medical evaluations are covered in your workers’ compensation claim in today’s blog.
Workers’ Comp And ER Visits In Minnesota
Even though you have yet to officially file your claim, your visit to an emergency department would be covered by your workers’ compensation claim if you end up winning an award because your need to receive care was a direct result of your work injury. If you or your insurance company had to pay part or all of the emergency room visit bill, the payer will be compensated for these expenses once your claim is approved. You will want to keep track of all bills, invoices and expenses that are at all related to your work injury, especially if you or your insurance company picked up the tab.
Emergency room visits, or any other medical appointment for that matter, will be covered by your workers’ compensation claim if you earn an award so long as the care you receive is deemed reasonable and necessary. So if you go to the emergency room straight from work because you cut your finger and need stitches or you head into the ER later in the evening because your concussion symptoms have worsened after an on-the-job head injury, these visits would be covered and you would be compensated for any expenses you incur as a result of these visits. These represent reasonable and necessary care directly related to your work injury.
So what type of care would be considered unreasonable or unnecessary? For example, let’s say you injured your back at work and you visit a doctor who recommends short-term rest followed by physical therapy. After a few days of rest, you book a massage that ends up helping your back feel better. While this care was helpful, it wasn’t something that was recommended by your treating physician, so your company’s workers’ compensation insurer would likely deny payment for that service. If you would like to see if massages or other alternative forms of treatment like acupuncture or cryotherapy would be covered, you’ll want to consult with your doctor and your lawyer. You’ll want to have your doctor recommend these procedures in writing, and even then you’ll want to confirm with your lawyer that you can pursue these treatments without fear of being stuck with the bill. It’s better to confirm ahead of time than to be stuck with a bill after the fact because you didn’t actually have clearance.
The same logic applies to surgery. Let’s say you visited your doctor after an injury and they recommend surgery. Your company’s workers’ compensation provider asks you to seek out a second opinion, and that physician recommends a conservative care plan involving a few weeks of physical therapy to see how your spine responds. You can’t just get the surgery and assume your company will foot the entire bill because one provider recommended the operation. Since the second provider does not yet view surgery as a necessary option, it may not be covered if you decide to pursue the operation, so don’t stray from what is considered reasonable and necessary medical care.
So long as you strive to seek reasonable and necessary medical care as the situation requires, you should not have to be afraid of getting stuck with an unexpected medical bill. To greatly increase your likelihood of earning fair compensation for your injuries and related expenses, you’ll want an experienced injury lawyer on your side. In the greater Twin Cities area, we believe Dean Margolis and the team at Margolis Law Firm can be that resource. For more information, or to learn if you have a valid claim, reach out to our team today at (952) 230-2700.
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