If you suffered injuries after a work-related accident, you may be entitled to compensation for lost wages and medical bills. Before you see your family doctor treat your injuries, you may want to look into seeing a worker’s comp doctor. In most cases, insurance companies have a network of acceptable health care providers that injured workers can visit to diagnose and treat the injury. If you seek a doctor’s help outside of the network, the insurance company may opt to pay for nothing.
Understanding why you should see a workers’ comp doctor involves understanding the physician’s role.
The Role of a Workers’ Comp Doctor
A workers’ comp doctor shares the same responsibilities as other medical doctors. They are regular physicians who offer high-quality medical care to treat injured workers. The significant difference between a workers’ comp doctor and your family doctor is that a physician in a workers’ comp clinic is typically within your workers’ compensation insurance network. A workers’ compensation doctor can provide independent medical exams and helps you avoid out-of-pocket expenses.
Employees visit workers’ compensation doctors after suffering work-related injuries. An injury may result from a sudden accident or an injury that becomes worse over time while the worker performs professional duties. If you suffered an injury at work, you should visit a doctor specializing in workers’ compensation because otherwise, you may not receive your benefits. The doctor’s role is to diagnose your injury, determine the extent of the damage, and create a treatment plan. Additionally, a workers’ compensation doctor can estimate how much time you need to recover fully.
Jobs With the Highest Injury Risk
While workplace injuries can occur at all employment levels across all industries, some industries have a higher rate of fatal injuries.
An aircraft pilot navigates any aircraft, including planes and helicopters. A pilot’s responsibility is to check the condition of the plane or helicopter before the flight and to communicate with air traffic control to ensure safety throughout the flight. In general, the most dangerous jobs for pilots are within the private industry. Commercial jet aircraft tend to have fewer injuries than privately owned planes. The most common fatal accidents are transportation incidents when it comes to aircraft pilots.
A construction helper is an individual who works within the construction industry to assist trade workers. These workers have a fatal injury rate of about 18 per every 100,000 workers. They are building finishing contractors, building equipment contractors, exterior contractors, foundation contractors, and more. Severe injuries for anyone within the construction industry often occur because of falls and trips.
The fatal injury rate is about 11 per 100,000 workers in the logging industry. Logging’s fatal accident rate is about 33 times the average job throughout the U.S. Loggers work in isolated areas and forests to harvest trees to meet demands. The use of heavy machinery and logs tend to create a more dangerous work environment.
Power linemen work with power lines to ensure consistent delivery of electricity to homes and businesses. A power linemen’s responsibility is to test, install and maintain electrical equipment. With a fatal injury rate of about 20 per 100,000 workers, the most significant danger to power linemen is electrocution.
Delivery drivers have one of the deadliest jobs in the U.S. On average, the fatal injury rate is about 27 per 100,000 workers. A delivery driver’s priority is to load and unload a vehicle and drive the cargo to its destination. Delivery drivers may work in retail, food, manufacturing, laundry, and much more. Traffic crashes tend to be the biggest threat when it comes to delivery drivers.
Firefighting supervisors coordinate and oversee firefighters. Their responsibility is to dispatch vehicles, evaluate fires and maintain fire fighting equipment. With a fatal injury rate of about 20 per 100,000, the most common cause of severe injuries in the industry is fire, explosion and traffic crashes.
Farmers may be at a higher risk for tractor crashes and other motor vehicle accidents in the farming industry. Farmers, agricultural managers and ranchers have a fatal injury rate of about 26 per 100,000 workers.
Crane operators generally work at construction sites. They may lift building materials to higher levels of a building, or they’ll work at ports to lift containers off of ships. The most severe and sometimes fatal injuries occur if the crane crashes or a vehicle collides with the crane. In other instances, objects from the build may hit the crane and injure the worker. When it comes to fatal injuries, crane operators have a 19 per 100,000 workers fatal injury rate.
Highway Maintenance Workers
Highway maintenance workers have to work on busy streets on any day or night. Maintenance workers are responsible for fixing rails, patching potholes, repainting road markers, and removing snow and ice. Unfortunately, when working on the roadways, vehicle crashes are commonplace. About 18 out of 100,000 workers face fatal accidents due to motor vehicles.
The police have naturally dangerous jobs. With job tasks such as patrolling, investigating criminals, arresting suspects and issuing citations, it is no surprise that there is a fatal injury rate of 14 per 100,000 workers. Compared to other jobs, police officers have an occupation about four times as dangerous. Violence tends to be the top risk for the police force.
Top Workplace Injuries
When it comes to workplace injuries, there are some injuries that occupations across the board have in common. About 84% of nonfatal injuries that may force an employee to take time away from work include overexertion, slips and falls, and contact with equipment or other objects.
Many jobs require employees to perform microtasks that result in repetitive motion injuries. When you perform repetitive tasks, your body undergoes strain and stress, which leads to injuries. In addition to repetitive injuries, non-impact injuries occur due to excessive physical activity such as lifting, carrying, throwing, holding, pushing, or turning.
Slips and Falls
Slip and fall injuries can happen in various ways throughout any injury. A slip-or-trip injury generally occurs if a worker catches his or herself before falling. Injuries involved in a slip or trip may include sprained or broken wrists from the impact of seeing oneself. One of the more dangerous falls is to fall to a lower level. For example, workers fall during a structural collapse or from ladders or scaffolding.
Contact With Equipment and Objects
For those who work around heavy equipment, there is a risk for a worker to become compressed, squeezed, or stuck between shifting objects, wires, ropes or stationary equipment. Contact with equipment may also include bumping into or being pushed against a piece of equipment, resulting in injury.
A worker may become injured because of falling equipment or a collapsed structure in other instances. Any pressure, friction, or vibration that causes injury would fall under the umbrella of contact with equipment and objects.
6 Common Workers Comp Doctor Specialists
Workers’ compensation doctors can specialize in as many practices as any other doctor. When you seek out a clinic, you will often find doctors with various specialties to address your unique circumstances.
Some workers’ comp clinic doctors specialize in pain management. After a workplace injury, you may suffer from chronic pain. Pain can interfere with your ability to concentrate, sleep at night and enjoy your life. A pain management doctor’s goal is to help you learn to manage your pain and increase your quality of life.
Pain management clinics may use physical therapy, rehabilitation, counseling, and other methods to help decrease your pain levels.
Many work-related injuries affect a patient’s bones, ligaments, tendons, muscles, and joints. The role of an orthopedic doctor is to diagnose and treat injuries relating to the musculoskeletal system. Some orthopedists may deal solely with workplace injuries, whereas others may deal with specific body areas, such as the hands or feet.
If you suffer a brain or nervous system injury at work, you may need to see a neurologist. Neurologists can treat back pain, headaches, and pinched nerves. When you meet with a neurologist, he or she will check your speech, mental status, vision, coordination, strength, reflexes, and sensation.
If you suffer lower back pain, headaches or neck pain following work-related injuries, a chiropractor may be able to ease your pain. Chiropractors do not prescribe pain medication, but they use spinal manipulation to help the body heal itself. A chiropractor uses his or her hands or instruments to apply a controlled force to the spine. Chiropractors may also provide relaxation treatments, massage therapy, braces, and other aids.
A psychologist focuses on your mental health and emotional well-being following an accident. Many patients with work-related injuries also have to deal with the psychological impact of the accident and subsequent injuries. You may be dealing with PTSD from the accident or have difficulty coping with the new limits on your life or inability to return to work. A psychologist may use talk or behavioral therapy to help you cope with your injury.
Some patients confuse psychiatrists and psychologists for the same practice. While the two methods have a lot in common, a psychiatrist attends medical school, whereas a psychologist earns a doctoral degree before obtaining a license. When you see a psychiatrist, he or she is more likely to prescribe medication to help alleviate your mental health symptoms.
The Benefits of Working with a Workers Comp Doctor
After an accident happens at work, you may consider seeing your regular family doctor. However, if you want to receive compensation and help ensure your claim goes through, you may want to see a workers’ comp physician instead.
A workers’ comp doctor is a reputable physician. What sets a worker’s compensation doctor apart from a regular physician is that he or she specializes in work-related injuries. For instance, a doctor may deal solely with the emotional and psychological impact of severe, life-altering injuries that occur in multiple industries. Doctors need to be authorized by the NYS Workers’ Compensation Board to treat injured workers in NY.
When you go to a workers’ comp clinic, the doctors understand your specific needs. They know the reality of how your injury impacts your ability to continue working and to continue earning income.
When it comes to a worker’s compensation claim, you need to see a doctor you can trust. Likewise, you need a physician that the insurance company trusts. A workers’ comp doctor accepts workers’ compensation patients and may be directly associated with your insurer.
No matter who your doctor is associated with, keep in mind that the doctor’s main priority is your health and wellness. Your injury and treatment plan are the main priority. If the physician suggests treatment and recovery time, the insurance company will comply with the doctor’s recommendation.
A workers’ compensation claim can be complicated. In some cases, the insurance company may try to claim a patient’s injury did not occur because of a work-related accident. Insurance companies want to profit rather than pay you the compensation you deserve.
When examined by a workers’ comp clinic physician, you can expect the doctor to understand the types of injuries that arise from workplace accidents and understand workers’ compensation law. They have experience with assessing claims and conducting comprehensive evaluations. While seeing your family doctor may provide you with a diagnosis, unless your family doctor works with workers’ compensation patients, he or she may not know the link between your industry and those types of injuries.
Make an Appointment Today with Trusted Workers’ Comp Doctors
After suffering a workplace injury, you may lose wages, face high medical expenses and deal with pain and suffering. If injured at work, an injured worker has every right to file a workers’ comp claim. If you want to receive the compensation you deserve for your work-related medical treatments, do not go to a doctor outside of your workers’ compensation insurance network.
Going to a workers’ comp doctor for an independent medical examination can ensure that you receive the compensation you deserve.
Contact us at Workers’ Comp Doctor to find a doctor who specializes in your injury. We can help set you up an appointment with a treating physician with experience in your industry and injury. Doctors on our website accept workers’ compensation insurance, no-fault, PIP (personal injury protection), and other healthcare plans. Call (888) 590-4030 to schedule your appointment in an office near you.