When a worker suffers from a serious or debilitating workplace injury, he or she may need to receive long-term care. Of course, the insurance company may challenge the need for this care because it can cost a lot of money over time. The worker then can have trouble getting the benefits he or she deserves.
What Is Long-Term Care?
In the context of workers’ compensation, long-term care could include:
- Skilled nursing care
- In-home visits from a nurse or physical therapist
- A stay in a rehab facility
- Long-term hospitalization
- Medication or medical devices for a long time period
- Many follow-up medical appointments
All of these medical treatments cost money that injured workers usually cannot afford. But when their doctors order the long-term care, workers’ compensation insurance companies may automatically deny payment. They are motivated by money and would rather deny a claim than pay it over a long time period.
Are Injured Workers Entitled to Long-Term Care?
Injured workers should receive any medically necessary care that is reasonably related to their workplace injuries. People with very serious or debilitating injuries can require long-term care to maintain their health or to fully recover. If doctors order long-term care, then in theory insurance companies should pay for it. In practice, though, insurance companies may claim that doctors could have selected a less expensive option (such as a nursing home instead of in-home care).
Settling Long-Term Care Claims
Because insurance companies want to avoid paying a lot of money over time for long-term care, workers may have the opportunity to settle these claims. Usually the insurer will contact the worker or his attorney and offer a settlement amount in exchange for a release of claims. If you receive a settlement offer, carefully calculate future medical costs to determine if the offer makes sense. Also consider whether you can continue working now or in the future. Finally, talk to your lawyer about the pros and cons of taking the offer.
Need help getting workers’ compensation for your injury? Joe Osterbauer, Esq. and the Osterbauer Law Firm stand up for injured Minnesota workers’ rights. Joe’s 27 years of workers’ compensation experience and his team’s speedy service combine to get clients the results they need. To schedule a free consultation, visit Osterbauer Law Firm online or call Joe’s office at (612) 334-3434.