People in just about any profession can experience work-related injuries or illnesses for a broad range of reasons. Some people have cumulative injuries, such as repetitive stress injuries, that develop over time from doing the same task every day. Carpal tunnel is an example of such an injury. Other people have significant, traumatic injuries that result from a workplace accident, while still others develop an illness as a result of exposure to dangerous substances on the job.
Regardless of how you acquired your workplace illness or injury, once you seek medical care and file a claim for workers’ compensation, it is of utmost importance that you continue to comply with medical recommendations. If your doctor orders you to rest, you need to take time off of work, even if you want to get back to the job.
If you don’t comply with medical orders, you could put yourself in a dangerous situation where you could stay injured or ill and no longer qualify for workers’ compensation.
In most cases, the physician knows what’s best for you
Medical professionals can and do make mistakes, but in most cases, the physician you work with for your care during your recovery from a workplace illness or injury will have a much better understanding of what your body needs to fully recover.
While you may be unhappy with their recommendation, that doesn’t make it wrong. Asking for an alternative treatment plan could be an option. However, if your physician insists on a specific plan of care, respecting their opinion is most likely in your best interest.
You may have the right to seek a second opinion
Depending on the stage in your claims process and treatment, a second opinion may be a good option. You can see an outside medical professional who can review your condition and records to determine if the recommended care is ideal or if there may be a viable alternative option.
You can then either try to transfer care or coordinate between your original position and the doctor who provided the second opinion to make a care plan that you feel will work better for you.
Refusing treatment for non-compliance can cost you your benefits
In order to continue to have a claim for workers’ compensation benefits, you must do everything in your power to reduce the impact of your injury or illness on your life and make every effort for a full recovery. Refusing medication, choosing not to have surgery or otherwise ignoring the recommendations and treatments ordered by the position overseeing your care related to your claim could mean the end of your benefits.
If the insurance company can claim that your inability to work or your ongoing symptoms is the result not of the initial medical issue but rather your refusal of treatment, it may be the end of your benefits. Complying with the physician or seeking a second opinion will help protect your right to benefits when you need them.