In a previous post, I discussed a common issue in workers’ compensation cases: how to obtain the medical treatment you are looking for. Here are some tips I give to my clients:
BE ASSERTIVE, NOT AGGRESSIVE
It’s important to be assertive, not aggressive, when dealing with the Doctor and his or her office staff. However, there is a difference in not taking no for an answer, and yelling at the Doctor or the receptionist. Explain your problems to the doctor, don’t allow your concerns to be glossed over, but remain patient. If you’re concerned about the doctor sending you back to work too soon, explain why you cannot perform your job – don’t tell the doctor that he or she isn’t in the one in pain. Remember that this is a process, and that it may take several visits with a doctor to obtain the results you’re looking for.
ASK QUESTIONS, DON’T QUESTION
It’s a great idea to do some research about your injury or condition before and during treatment. A little knowledge will help you understand the doctor. For example, you should ask if there are options other than surgery, whether it might be time for an MRI, or a referral to a specialist. It’s not helpful to question your doctor’s credentials, judgment or ability to make a decision. Just because you can find information on the internet, it doesn’t mean the doctor doesn’t know how to treat you. Ask questions designed to explore all treatment options and scenarios. You may be right, but if you alienate your doctor, you could be in trouble.
GO IT ALONE
Sure it’s helpful to bring your significant other, friend or loved one to the doctor’s office. They want to help make sure the doctor understands your problems, but this often leads to confrontation. It is hard for someone who cares about you to remain patient when they do not feel the doctor is giving you appropriate attention. All too often, if you bring someone into the examining room, the situation will turn confrontational and this is never to your advantage. All kinds of bad things happen when the doctor is ganged up on and backed into a wall. It is best to leave your loved ones in the waiting room.
The pace of treatment can be slow and I counsel my clients to be direct with their doctors, but not confrontational – nobody wins if that happens. If you are having issues obtaining medical treatment in a New Jersey workers’ compensation claim, we offer free consultations to see how we can best serve your needs.