Employees injured on the job face many challenges in the days, months, and even years following their accidents. The unfortunate reality is that many injured workers experience physical pain, financial stress, and strained relationships with employers and workers’ compensation insurance companies.
At Petro Cohen Petro Matarazzo, we have seen firsthand how devastating a workers’ comp injury can be to our clients and their families. That is why we fight so hard to make sure our clients receive the benefits and compensation they deserve.
Our workers’ compensation legal team understands that your primary concern should be to receive the medical treatment you need to heal and ultimately get back to your work and life. We also know, however, that as a New Jersey workers’ comp patient, you may face roadblocks on your journey toward recovery.
Here is a brief list of three common issues that New Jersey workers’ compensation patients often face.
1. You may not be able to seek medical treatment with doctors of your choice.
If you suffer a work-related injury, New Jersey law provides that your employer or the workers’ compensation insurance company has the right to dictate your medical care. What does this mean for you?
- The employer/insurance company gets to choose the doctor(s) who will provide you with medical treatment.
- Generally, insurance companies choose doctors whom they know and who are from their own networks.
- If you wish to seek medical treatment from a doctor of your choice, the insurance company must first authorize the doctor to do so – or you may be financially on the hook for resulting medical expenses.
- One exception to this general rule is that any doctor can provide an injured worker with emergency care, and no authorization is required. But once you leave the emergency room, you’re required to continue medical care with a doctor approved by your insurance company
2. If your treating doctor is one outside of the “network,” the insurance carrier must first authorize your medical care.
Even if the insurance company does authorize a doctor outside of its network to provide you with medical treatment for your work-related injury, there is still close oversight of your care. Specifically, if an “outside” doctor orders certain procedures, tests, and medications, the insurance company must first authorize the proposed treatment – otherwise, it may not be covered.
3. You may vehemently disagree with your doctor’s determination that you are “all better.”
In the world of workers’ compensation, the point in time at which you as an injured worker has received all necessary treatment to cure your work-related injury is known as Maximum Medical Improvement (MMI). This is a very important determination, as the insurance company will pay weekly workers’ compensation benefits to you as long as you undergo active medical treatment. Once MMI is reached, weekly benefits cease.
Ideally, you and your doctor should be on the same page regarding when you no longer need medical treatment. Unfortunately, this may not be the case. Your treating doctor (likely hired by the insurance company) may deem you at MMI when you truly believe you are not fully recovered.
Contact Us Today
At Petro Cohen Petro Matarazzo, we can help you overcome some or all of the challenges you face as a workers’ compensation patient in the Garden State. Our attorneys and phenomenal legal staff have both the skills and experience required to help with your case.