Hurt On The Job: Common Mistakes (Part 4)
As mentioned in Part 3 of this series, this blog entry will focus on the client’s role of communicating with their employer after receiving an on-the-job injury. We have already learned in prior posts of this series the importance of filing a claim and notifying one’s employer immediately when hurt on the job. Part 4 of ‘Common Mistakes When Hurt On-The-Job’ will give some suggestions on how to communicate with your employer after the initial claim has been filed. One of the biggest misconceptions we have noticed on the part of injured workers’ in Oregon, is their failure to keep their employers informed during the period of their workers’ compensation claim. Let’s now focus on a few Do’s and Don’ts as it applies to this.
DO make sure you follow all the rules as laid out in your employee hand book. If you are not sure if you have an employee handbook, now would be a good time to ask for one. If your employee handbook tells you to check in after going to every doctor appointment related to your workers’ compensation claim, THEN DO THAT! Failure to do so could result in yourtermination and loss of critical Time Loss benefits. Don’t assume the HIPPA rules keep this information from your employer. THEY DO NOT! Also, don’t assume your attorney is allowed to have communication with your employer. There are some very strict ethical rules that all Attorneys in Oregon have to abide by when representing clients. Under most circumstances, your attorney is not legally allowed to contact the employer.
Equally important, DO NOT ASSUME, you can schedule your medical appointments during your scheduled working hours. Another big misconception by injured workers is the notion that due to their on-the-job injury (workers’ compensation claim), their employer must accommodate any of their medical appointments during scheduled work shifts. THIS IS ABSOLUTLEY A FALSE NOTION and could result in your termination. At Shlesinger & deVilleneuve Attorneys, we constantly strive to remind our clients to schedule these appointments when not working or at the very least communicate and get permission from your employer to attend these appointments if they are scheduled during your work shift. Should you need to get permission from your employer, it is a good idea to get this in writing. A quick email saved to your
account, should be sufficient.
Keeping your employer posted as mentioned above is very important at it pertains to your worker’s compensation claim. As mentioned during this post, failure to do so could result in termination of one’s employment and loss of time loss benefits. However, keeping your employer posted does not give your employer THE RIGHT TO ATTENDMEDICAL APPOINTMENTS WITH YOU. When it comes to your face-to-face appointment with your medical provider, you do not have to allow others to attend that appointment. PERIOD!
The employer could technically sit in the waiting room, but they do not have to, nor do they have the right to accompany you into the medical provider’s exam room, unless you want them to attend. Always, discuss this with your attorney. In very rare circumstances would we ever allow or encourage the employer to accompany you into the exam room.
The workers’ compensation insurance company tries to confuse this issue by having an independent nurse case manager attend medical appointments with you. First of all, this so called “independent” nurse case manager is far from independent. Not only do they usually work directly for that particular insurance company, but their overriding mission is to limit the exposure to the insurance company. AS A GENERAL RULE, never allow a non-family member to attend any appointments with you. Always check with your attorney first.
To recap this section:
1. Follow all rules in employee handbook.
2. Keep employer posted as to off-work slips provided by your medical provider.
3. Don’t schedule medical appointments during working hours, unless you have written permission to doso.
4. Don’t allow non-family members attend medical appointments with you.
The next post of this series, will deal with proper communication with one’s attorney. STAY TUNED!
The above information is NOT a substitute for legal advice and should not be interpreted as the dissemination of legal advice. It is only meant as general guidance on various issues which may be applicable to your situation. It is critical that you consult with an experienced attorney before taking any legal action or have specific questions addressing your particular case answered