An experience this week with a client’s workers’ compensation claim has reminded me of the need to stress to clients that it is vitally important for them to provide complete and accurate information about how their injury occurred and what physical complaints they have from the injury.
In a nutshell, a client was injured when a co-worker ran over the back of her foot with a cart weighing approximately 250 pounds. The impact caused the client to fall forward onto her knee and caused her to have a severely sprained ankle.
When providing an account of the accident to the employer, the client did not report falling onto her knee and only reported that the cart had run over the back of her foot. Similarly, when she was referred to the company doctor for treatment, she did not fully explain what had taken place.
At the time, this was not an issue, as it seemed that the injury was isolated to her ankle. As her ankle pain began to get a little better, the client became aware of knee pain. She reported this to the doctor, but did not place any emphasis on it. No examination or treatment was ever provided for the knee, even though it continued to be painful.
Ultimately, the client was released from care and was advised to return to work without restrictions. At the time she was released, she continued to have some pain in both her ankle and knee.
Upon returning to work, the client found that her knee was becoming more and more painful because she had to use it to do her job. When she requested treatment for the knee, her company refused, stating that they had no record of her knee having been injured. They questioned the relationship between the accident and the knee pain she was having.
Although I believe we will be successful in getting this client the care she needs for her knee as a result of her
having mentioned her knee pain, this experience reinforces the need to be detailed when describing an accident and when describing the injuries suffered due to the accident. It is important to tell the medical providers of every complaint you have following the accident so that there is no issue about whether the accident caused a certain complaint.
For more specific information about how you should deal with doctors and medical providers that are treating you, please see our "Dealing With Doctors and Other Healthcare Providers" library article.