If you don’t obtain prior approval for emergency treatment, you can still file a workers’ comp claim.
Today’s post is by my colleague Matthew Funk of New York.
When an injured worker needs emergency medical care, prior authorization isn’t always possible and obtaining it does not bar a workers’ compensation claim. When a worker is hurt at work and is rushed to the emergency room for treatment, there often isn’t enough time to seek authorization from an insurance company and to obtain a claim number.
At the time of the treatment, if possible, the injured worker should let the hospital and medical provider know that the injury occurred at work and the exact details of all his or her injuries. This is sometimes an effort since emergency staff are rushed and understaffed. After the emergency care is provided the worker should immediately seek the guidance of an attorney to assist in filing a claim and obtaining reimbursement for the medical care.
At the time of the treatment, if possible, the injured worker should let the hospital and medical provider know that the injury occurred at work and the exact details of all his or her injuries.
Nebraska requires under Neb. Rev. Stat. 48-139 that all workers compensation settlements involving workers not represented by counsel be approved by the workers compensation court. Last week I came across an example of why this law is good policy.
Luckily for my client, this “agreement” is not valid so he can compensated to the full extent of the law for his work injuries.
I signed up a client who was injured in a roof collapse while doing demolition work at a local bar last Sunday. The employer drafted a “full satisfaction and release” of client’s work comp claim for $45 and for payment of my client’s emergency room visit the day of the accident. For an injured worker without health insurance the prospect of having not having potentially expensive ER treatment paid for is a powerful incentive not to pursue their rights under their jurisdiction’s workers compensation statute. Luckily for my client, this “agreement” is not valid so he can compensated to the full extent of the law for his work injuries. In my experience, this type of interference with the exercise of an injured employee’s right to workers compensation is not typical. Thankfully, Nebraska law recognizes that some employers will try to interfere with an injured workers right to compensation and provides procedural safeguards to prevent employer abuse.