Some people discover that they need additional medical treatment years after their workers’ compensation cases have settled. If you are in this situation, you should figure out your options quickly so that you can figure out how to pay for the treatment. In some cases, the workers’ comp insurance company may pay for the treatment, while in other cases you must pay for it yourself.
- Does the Settlement Cover Future Medical Benefits?
The first thing you need to know is whether your past settlement left future medical benefits open. “Open” means that the release of claims in the settlement agreement does not include any right to payment for medical expenses that arise in the future. If your settlement left future medical open, then the insurance company should pay for your new treatment needs as long as the medical expenses are reasonably related to the injury. If your settlement released all your claims to benefits, you should talk to your health insurance company about whether it will cover the treatment.
If you are not sure whether your settlement kept future medical open, then talk to a workers’ compensation lawyer. He or she can help you understand the agreement and which medical benefits you can still receive. A lawyer also can help you communicate with the insurance company.
- Make Contact with the Insurance Company
After a workers’ compensation case settles, the insurance company sets the file aside or puts it in storage. You need to reach out to the insurer to let its representatives know that you need more medical treatment for your workplace injury. If a significant amount of time has passed (years rather than months), the insurance company representatives will most likely be skeptical of your need. They may deny benefits, and you will have to ask a judge to decide the issue.
To head off problems, get clear, detailed medical documentation from your treating doctor who recommends the new treatment. Your doctor should explain in a note or report why you need the treatment now and how it is related to your old workplace injury. Ensure that you use a doctor who is licensed to practice the area of medicine related to your injury. For example, do not rely on the opinion of an acupuncturist alone – get a consultation with a spinal surgeon.
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.