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BIGOTRY IN WORKER’S COMPENSATION CASES

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It becomes apparent to me that employees who suffer injuries suffer a form of prejudice or bigotry from the medical profession in worker’s compensation.  In a vast majority of my cases, my client’s describe how the doctors and other medical professionals treat them as if the injured employee is “trying to get away with something.”  It is a real problem. I know of many cases where doctors enjoy wonderful relationships with their non-work related patients but very poor relationships with the work related patients.

Since Indiana gives the right to furnish medical treatment to the employer, the stage is set for this bigotry to continue and probably grow.  There is a built in friction between who is paying for the service and selecting the doctor, and who is receiving the service.  Many times I meet a physician new to the worker’s compensation arena and feel hopeful believing that they have the best interest of the patient at heart.  However, as usual, it seems that after four or five years of the employers or their insurance company’s treatment of the doctors, they tend to see worker’s compensation patients as more trouble.

Perhaps this “trouble” is related to difficultly in receiving payment, getting authorization for services, having to answer the nurse case managers who follow patients around, and the worker’s compensation system in general. Nevertheless, it is wrong.

My advice, is to the fullest extent possible, to talk to the doctor in a calm objective fashion, explain your symptoms to the doctor, and simply ask the doctor his professional opinion on what is best.  I do believe that doctors went to medical school so that they can help other people.  If the injured worker vocalizes their trust and confidence in the doctor, I think it will be returned more times than it is not.

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