Believe it or not, sometimes injuries happen and the injured person doesn’t know what caused the pain. Maybe you wake up sore the day after moving an office, or lifting a header, or falling down some stairs. Maybe you have been working in pain for a couple weeks or months and haven’t said anything, but now it’s gotten to the point where you just cannot work any more. Maybe you just wake up in pain, but can’t remember any specific incident. The rule is, “If you are hurting, REPORT IT”, even if you think it will go away.
Even before you are injured, write a statement to your employer that in the event you are ever injured at work, you want to go to your own private medical doctor and tell your employer whom that is. Put this in writing, as that it be put in your personnel file, and keep a copy of your request. This will allow you to go directly to your doctor when you are injured, rather than having to go first to the company or insurance doctor during the first thirty days.
If you have not notified your employer of your desire to see your doctor after an injury, you will have to go to a doctor of the company’s choice for the first thirty days. After thirty days you can switch to your own doctor by simply writing a letter notifying your employer of your decision to exercise your free choice of treating physician. Be sure that you put the name, address and phone number of your doctor on the paper. Be sure to keep a copy. Be sure you tell your doctor that you were hurt at work.
After you report the injury, depending on the extent of the injury, you may be sent to a doctor. (If you have informed your employer of YOUR choice of doctors before the injury, you will go to the doctor of YOUR choice. If not, then you will go to the doctor of your company’s choice.) You may just be given a couple aspirin and told to go home. If you are hurting, I recommend you always go to a doctor so you can document the extent and location of the pains you have. Be sure that you tell the doctor everything that is causing you pain. If you fell and hurt your back and elbow, and also have a headache, make sure you tell the doctor that you fell and hurt your back and your elbow and that now you have a headache. Be sure the doctor writes it down. If your record shows you only complained of pain after three or four weeks, even if you had the pain at the time of the accident, it will be harder to prove the pain is from that incident.