Can You Go to the ER When You Have a Work Injury?
As you may imagine, injuries on the job often are acute and sudden, and require immediate medical attention. If you are injured with other employees or staff around, going to an emergency room is OK and advisable–after all, your supervisor is probably right there to document it and get you in touch with the department that handles workers’ compensation claims.
Injuries When Off Site or By Yourself
But what happens if there are no witnesses to your accident? For example, what if you work out of the office, on location, or you make house calls or location calls? You may be injured with nobody around. Can you still go to the ER?
The answer is yes, but you should, to the extent possible, let anyone at your work headquarters know as soon as you can. If you are able to, once at the ER, let the staff know that this is a possible workers’ compensation claim. Since you probably don’t have a workers’ compensation adjuster at this point, give the staff the name and number of anyone at your work who can provide the insurance information.
You should avoid giving your personal health insurance card if at all possible, although most hospitals will ask for it because they fear not being paid (or paid in full) by workers’ compensation carriers. It is illegal for a health care provider to charge a patient for something that workers’ compensation should be paying for.
Going to the ER When You Have a Pending Claim
Sometimes, you may have to go to the ER long after an accident, or even after you have a pending workers’ compensation lawsuit. At this stage, you should have an insurance adjuster and claim number.
As a general rule, you should try to get pre-approval before going to an emergency room. However, because emergencies don’t always happen during working hours, this may not be possible.
In this case, do your best to leave a voicemail or an email to your insurance adjuster if they can’t be reached and explain the nature of a true emergency, i.e. you couldn’t wait to see your authorized doctor (if you have one).
Give Family Your Workers Compensation Information
In some cases, you may be unconscious when you arrive at the hospital or unable to communicate. The hospital has time limits to report a workers’ compensation claim to make sure it gets paid, and may be anxious to know information about your employer or workers’ compensation carrier.
Always make sure that your family or close friend, at least, knows who your employer is so that the hospital may secure your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance information.
Do you have questions about what you can and can’t do when you have a workers’ compensation claim? Contact us today at the Celeste Law Firm for a free consultation to discuss getting help with your injuries.