What Makes A Repetitive Use Workers’ Compensation Case?
In Colorado, the Workers’ Compensation Rules of Procedure contain the Medical Treatment Guidelines. Within those Guidelines are specific standards that should be met in order for there to be “causation,” or a determination that the repetitive use injury should be treated as a workers’ compensation claim. In my opinion, those standards can be difficult to show, and unfortunately, this means that repetitive use injuries are not often compensated. This is frustrating because in many repetitive use cases it is common sense that a repetitive use injury is work-related but the injured party’s job duties don’t meet the levels identified for “causation” in the Medical Treatment Guidelines. In that case, the insurance carrier will deny the claim. When the insurance carrier denies the claim, it requires the injured party and their attorney to go to court and prove that the injury was the result of work-related duties.
How Common Are Repetitive Use Workers’ Compensation Cases?
Repetitive use workers’ compensation cases are common but they aren’t reported as often as other types of injuries. Since repetitive use injuries occur over time there aren’t witnesses as there would be to an accident. This poses a challenge and since many repetitive use injury claims are denied, a lot of people don’t seek help from an attorney and instead seek care from their personal health insurance.
What Steps Should I Take If I Believe I Have A Valid Workers’ Compensation Claim For My Repetitive Use Injury?
If a person believes they have a repetitive use injury, the first thing they should do is document their injury in writing, create a copy of it for their own records, and submit it to their employer. When an employee reports an injury, employers are required to provide a list of designated providers from which the employee can seek medical attention. An injured worker should request a copy of that list and schedule an appointment with one of the providers as soon as possible. The longer a person delays in reporting an injury, the more difficult it will be for their claim to admitted as compensable by the insurance carrier. It is also important for an injured worker to communicate with their employer and provide written statements regarding visits to the doctor and any restrictions placed by the doctor.
Should I Hire An Attorney Right After An Injury Or Wait For A Denial?
I always recommend that an injured party schedule right away a free consultation with an attorney. In doing so this will help them understand their rights and avoid pitfalls that can arise early on in a case. When injured workers wait too long to seek the advice of an attorney, they often end up with problems that could have been prevented had they been proactive in seeking legal counsel from the beginning.
Will I Be Able To Choose My Own Doctor For My Repetitive Use Injury?
In Colorado, the employer and the insurance carrier have the right to dictate which providers an injured party can see. In most cases, an employer will provide a list of four providers within a 35-mile range. The provider selected will be referred to as the authorized treating physician (ATP) and will act as a gatekeeper when that physician, physician’s assistant, or nurse practitioner makes a referral.
The referral to the other specialist is considered within the authorized chain. If an employee seeks care or a second opinion from their own physician, then the provider generally won’t be considered authorized and the insurance carrier will have no obligation to pay. Within the first 90 days of having sustained the injury, the employee has the right to request a one-time change of physician to one of the other physicians on the original list provided by the employer.
For more information on Repetitive Use Workers’ Compensation Claim, an initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (303) 420-8080 today.
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