We have a client whose case has problems that could have been avoided if they just taken more time to fully describe their injury. We understand he hurt, he was tired and he was hopeful he’d be right back to work, but I can’t stress the importance of today’s point.
Take all the time you need to fully describe every area of the body that is hurting from the injury.
Generally here is what we are talking about: A description that you injured your shoulder, when in fact your neck, under the arm and your back hurts will do you no good in the long run. When asked you have to say, “I hurt my neck and back too.” Don’t just think it, say it.
The shoulder is one injury, the arm another, the neck something else and a back far more serious. Together they are a completely different case.
The injured worker who does not take the time to explain to his or her doctor the full extent of their injury will later find out why it was important that they did.
I won’t state more than this today about why you need to more fully describe your injury, because we write about the why’s in other blogs. The important point today is to understand the importance of not stating you have a simple “shoulder injury” when it goes beyond the shoulder.
Here are ten opportunities that over time have proven to our firm the importance of an injury’s full description.
- Right after the injury occurs with co-workers who can hear or see you.
- After the injury when you report it to your supervisor or HR.
- If an ambulance crew is called you will be asked, “What happened and where do you hurt?”
- In the emergency room by the hospital staff. Again, during the history you will be asked, “What happened and where do you hurt?”
- After the emergency room staff nurses ask you for an injury description you will meet with the doctor who will again ask, “What happened and where do you hurt?”
- On a daily basis the nursing staff do rounds and check in with patients to find out how they are doing and if you are getting better. They too will ask, “What happened and where do you hurt?”
- The doctors also do rounds and ask this same question of you, “What happened and where do you hurt?”
- When you go for x-rays, physical therapy, have a consult or are in contact with hospital staff during your stay, you’ll be asked, “What happened and where do you hurt?”
- The doctor who discharges you will also ask.
- And then you are discharged and continue to do follow-up with your family doctor or orthopedic surgeon who will again give you the opportunity to fully describe your injury.
Trust me when I say, you will do yourself no good with describing an injury as just to the shoulder when it includes the neck and back. If your injury includes your back, your ribs, the torso or your neck then you must say it to someone, somewhere along the chain of medical care. Each one of these engagements with medical treaters is an opportunity to correct your under-description. And so take the opportunity to say it, because if it’s not in the medical record then some people in the industrial commissioner’s office will want to believe your compensation is extremely limited. And if you have failed to say it, then correct it at your next visit.
“Doc, my neck and back are also hurting. Can you do something for my neck and back?”
As always, if you have questions about the things we write about, then call to discuss having us handle your case.
Additional articles about how to avoid problems with your work injury claim.