After a serious injury at work, you have to see a doctor in order to get workers comp benefits.  No one likes to go the doctor, we get it.  And if your injury is minor and you can still work, no big deal.

But we see a lot of people who have a serious work injury - one that needs to get checked out by a physician - just not go to the doctor.  Even if they go to the hospital after the accident and are told to stay off work for 3 days and follow up with a doctor.  

That's a problem for several reasons.  First, let's face it, a busy emergency room probably doesnt have time to deal with your injury - the ER doctors and nurses only want to know if you should be admitted to the hospital or sent home.  Sure they may take x-rays but those don't show herniated discs, torn rotator cuffs, strained ligaments, etc. You'll only get that diagnosis from a physician who specializes in those types of injuries.  And you won't get any medical treatment at the ER, only pain medication to last a short time.  Plus they will only give you a disability slip or out of work note for 2 or 3 days.

So you went to the ER after your work injury, told your supervisor and maybe filled out an incident report.  (Hopefully you haven't talked to the workers comp adjuster or given her a statement - it's way too early for that and she's just looking for ways to deny or delay your legitimate workers comp claim).

You still need a doctor to certify that you can't work.  Even if you think it will be just a few days to get through the pain and then you can return to work.

It's better to get your work injury examined and treated right from the beginning - even if you only see the doctor once or twice and get back to work quickly, this way you've protected yourself in case the injury is worse than you first thought.  

Frank R. Kearney, Attorney-at-Law
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Experienced DC Workers' Comp, Long Term Disability & Accident Lawyer
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