Don’t Assume the Doctor Knows

David McCormick

Work exposure (wear and tear) injuries require special attention to detail when reporting the injury to the doctor. Many time workers say “my doctor knows what I do.”  That may be true but what is in your doctor’s head, also needs to be in your chart notes as far as your job activities for these types of injuries.  Most often these types of injuries involve repetitive use of the back, shoulders, elbows and wrists.  Don’t assume the doctor knows about your job.

A chart note that says “employee does repetitive work” is not going to be sufficient to win your case, in most instances.  The administrative law judge will be more impressed with a doctor’s opinion of causation if the doctor shows that he/she has a good understanding of the details of your work.  Make sure that the doctor writes down the details of your work in the chart notes, or if you think the doctor will be too busy, write out a statement detailing your job (make sure it is accurate) and ask the doctor to make it part of his/her chart for future reference in determining work-relatedness.  Cover such things as range of weights, numbers of repetitions in an hour, number of weeks a year, and number of years you have been doing the activity.

Once the doctor starts doing this math it will become more obvious that work caused the injury.  Doctors usually do not go to worker’s compensation hearings, but their notes and reports do.  The more that is in the notes, the stronger your case is going to be.