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When to see a doctor
Immediately. Or, at least as soon as possible.
A work injury can come in an endless number of ways and circumstances. Common examples include injuries from lifting heavy objects that result in a sudden, acute onset of pain in a specific area of the body. Others develop over time due to repetitive activities such as overhead lifting.
While each situation and injury are unique, it is vitally important following an injury at work to see your doctor. Getting the injury on paper with your doctor is one of the most important steps in the life of a workers' compensation case. This is especially true if the injury is not reported to your Employer right away.
Often times, someone will sustain a minor injury at work. At the end of the day, and at the end of the week, perhaps. Rather than report the injury to their employer or go see their doctor, they will rest and hope that the injury will just go away. This happens quite often.
If the injury then gets better, the employee may return to work and try and "gut it out." Some employee's do this for extended periods of time. They may start missing time from work, saying their sick and never telling their employer the real reason why they are missing work. Finally, it gets to point where they cannot handle it any longer, and they tell their employer that they're injured and that the injury happened at work months ago.
This is where the problems begin to arise.
Employer's are not often cooperative. Though they are required by law to report such injuries to their workers comp insurance company, very often they will not report the injury, and other times, they will take weeks to do so. When the workers' comp insurer gets involved, their first question to the employer is when did the injury occur. The employer will say that it happened months ago, but it was never reported. This is an immediate red flag to the comp insurer, who may take the position that the Employee probably injured themselves at home and now they're trying to say it happened at work. This will almost certainly result in an initial denial of the claim.
This is why it is so important to see a doctor as soon as possible, and noting that the pain began following an injury at work on a specific date. Having a paper trail like this will make it much easier for the employee's attorney to be able to argue that the injury was work-related.
After seeing your doctor, the next step is to call an experienced Massachusetts workers comp lawyer, who can help guide you through this early part of the case and help steer you away from potential pitfalls that may develop.
At Troupe Law Office, we have been actively representing injured workers and their families for over 45 years. We are experienced north shore workers comp lawyers, located in Peabody.