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Why you should not wait to go to the doctor after a work injury

If you have ever put off medical treatment, you are not alone. The National Center for Biotechnology Information found that about one-third of respondents in a nationwide survey avoided the doctor. It is estimated that many people wait 18.5 days or more before getting help for a chronic health issue. Avoidance of medical care occurs for many different reasons. Sometimes, there are financial or time barriers. About 10 percent of the participants in the survey said they didn't think medical treatment was necessary, as they expected the condition to improve.

If you wait to get treatment for a work-related injury, you could lose workers' compensation benefits.

Workers' compensation benefits are often misunderstood. These benefits cover medical treatment for injuries that occurred on the job. Injured workers can also receive partial wages during recovery, as well as compensation for traveling to and from medical appointments. If you wait to report your injury, the workers' compensation insurer may claim that your injury isn't as bad as it is, and you could be denied the benefits you need.

Time limits for reporting

You should report a work-related injury to your employer as soon as possible. If you have an injury that developed gradually, report it as soon as you think your job caused it. You may lose benefits if you do not report the injury within 30 days. Also, remember to keep all documentation of doctor's visits and tests, including information about how and when the injury occurred. 

Your employer -- or your employer's insurer -- is responsible for covering medical care for on-the-job injuries or illnesses, even if you never miss time from work. Also, it is illegal for your employer to retaliate against you for reporting an injury.

Employees who are not legal citizens of the United States are also eligible to receive workers' compensation benefits. If your employer is denying medical coverage or wage benefits, speak as soon as possible with an experienced workers' compensation lawyer who can help you get the compensation you need and deserve. 

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