Today’s guest post comes to us from our colleague Matt Funk of New York.
Putting off seeing medical care is commonplace for chronic medical conditions. Under the Workers’ Compensation Law there is no timeframe for a claimant to see a medical provider. There is nothing in the law that requires a worker to see his doctor within 24 hours or 30 days of the accident. However, the sooner an injured worker sees a doctor, the better, especially if that worker is losing time from work because of the accident. A Law Judge will only grant awards for lost time that is backed up by medical reports.
That means if a member is out of work for three weeks before they go to a doctor, it is possible that Workers’ Compensation benefits might not be paid during that time period. In order for a claim to be successful in this situation the report that the doctor submits must have several things on it:
- It must contain the history of the accident,
- diagnoses a condition,
- explain how the condition is related to the on the job incident, and;
- comment on disability. Disability is an essential component that
must be on the reports. Without an opinion on disability, there is no evidence to dispute what the carrier doctors submit to the NY Workers’ Compensation Board.
Physicians are required to submit to the Workers’ Compensation Board (WCB) complete and thorough reports. The sooner that you see a doctor and have a report sent to the WCB the better for you and your case.
Matthew Funk, a partner at Pasternack Tilker Ziegler Walsh Stanton & Romano, LLP, has been practicing Workers’ Compensation Law for over a decade. He is a member of the Workers’ Compensation Bar Association, Injured Workers’ Bar Association and the New York Coalition for Occupational Safety and Health (NYCOSH). He has written for the New York State Trial Lawyers’ Workers’ Compensation Decisions program and has lectured on numerous occasions focusing on Workers’ Compensation Law.