Why it is so Important to Seek Prompt Medical Treatment and Provide an Accurate Description of the Injury if you are Injured on the Job

Jack Davila

If you are injured on the job, what do the Wisconsin statutes say about providing your doctor with an accurate history of the injury? Actually, they don’t say anything. It is purely a matter of common sense. The workers compensation insurance carrier is entitled by statute to obtain your medical records if you make a claim. If those records simply contain a report of back pain, or shoulder pain, etc., and do not contain the history that the pain was caused by a work-related incident or some type of exposure at work, the skeptical employer or cynical insurance claims adjuster will deny the claim, taking the position that if the pain/problem was the result of a work-related injury or exposure, the employee would have reported that fact to the doctor.

You should not simply say “I was bending over …”, or “My knee gave out …” You must indicate that you were bending over at work, or your knee gave out while performing such and such activity at workYou should also make sure the history is detailed with respect to the date of the injury. If you simply guess as to the date of an occurrence, the employer may be able to deny the claim by establishing that you were not at work on the date given to the doctor, or that you were performing job duties on that date which were not consistent with the description of injury provided to the doctor.

You should also make sure the history remains consistent. In some instances, an injured employee may be required to see a number of different doctors in different medical specialties. Know that providing varying histories among doctors, for example by giving different dates of injury, is almost certain to cause problems with your case.

Finally, if the injury is not the result of a single incident (a traumatic injury), but rather is the result of a prolonged period of work exposure, you should be extremely detailed with respect to job duties. For example, it is not enough to simply tell the doctor you are a machine operator, as the doctor may say operating a machine would not cause a back problem. You should instead describe to the doctor the physical activities involved, the weights lifted, the number of repetitions, etc. The doctor will then be able to support your claim that performing those types of physical activities over time would very likely cause a back problem.

Always seek prompt medical treatment following a work injury, and always provide an accurate and consistent history of how the injury occurred.