Why Is Giving A Complete Work Injury History To Your Doctor Important?

Casey Shorts

Giving a complete work injury history to your doctor is probably the most critical part of a worker’s compensation claim.  Your worker’s compensation claim is no stronger than your medical support.  Your injury history as documented by your doctor is of vital importance if your employer has little or no history of the injury.  It is your reporting to the doctor what happened to you and the doctor’s timely treatment of you that give you the needed credibility to pursue a worker’s compensation claim.

Giving a poor injury history to your doctor may affect your credibility in a hearing before an administrative law judge (ALJ).  Therefore, take whatever time is necessary on the first visit to your doctor to give a complete history of your work injury.  Also restate your history each time you see a doctor so that the doctor’s chart notes, which are generally in all cases admitted for the ALJ’s review, are complete.  The ALJ will decide your case based on your credibility at the hearing, but also will make a determination as to whether your doctor’s opinion makes sense based on what you told your doctor.  The ALJ’s decision is based primarily on what is in your medical chart notes.

Do not be hesitant to report earlier injuries to the same part of your body.  For example, in a back injury, if you have had earlier back problems, draw distinctions between the earlier problems and your current symptoms.  If you have healed, and there have been no symptoms from your earlier back problems, tell the doctor how often and under what circumstances the earlier injury bothered you, and how the current injury differs, for example, in location and amount and constancy of pain.

If you have a repetitive injury, make sure the doctor understands the nature of your work.  Describe your workplace and job.  Your doctor probably does not have any knowledge of the demands of your job.  Demonstrate your job to the doctor, and then give him or her ranges of weights and the number of repetitions you would do in a shift.  If you have to make a certain movement lifting 20 pounds 300 times in a shift, show the doctor.  If you handle 20,000 pounds of product in a shift, tell the doctor.  Only then will the doctor understand and appreciate how and why the work you have been doing over the years has finally physically affected you.

If you have questions about worker’s compensation, personal injury or social security disability, please feel free to call The Previant Law Firm, S.C. at (414) 240-1185.