Workers compensation is a state-mandated form of insurance that provides wage replacement and medical benefits to employees who sustain an injury as a result of an accident at work or who suffer work-related injury and illness. It is designed to protect employees against the economic hardship that may arise as a result of on-the-job injury. At the same time, it serves to protect the employer by immunity from employee lawsuits.
Workers compensation system is a “no-fault” system where employees do not have to prove employer negligence in order to receive workers compensation benefits. Damages for pain and suffering are not available in workers compensation plans.
How are workers compensation benefits obtained?
If you have suffered a work-related injury or experience work-related illness, you need to immediately notify your employer. You also need to inform your treating doctor that your injury is work-related so that he may file the first treatment medical report with the employer/insurer.
Can you choose your own doctor? Most workers compensation claims are orthopedic in nature. In particular, hand and wrist are the most frequent on-the-job injuries. These injuries are often highly complex and require comprehensive and personalized treatment plan that is best delivered by a board certified orthopedic surgeon who is fellowship trained in hand and wrist. Such an orthopedic surgeon is also known as a hand surgeon for short.
One of the most important decisions an employee has to make is to choose their workers compensation doctor. Each state has its own rules and regulations regarding the workers compensation program. In Nebraska, the employee has the right to choose his treating doctor, however, certain rules must be followed.
You can choose ANY doctor If your employer does not tell you about your right to choose a doctor.
You can choose ANY doctor if you need surgery; if your injury involves dismemberment; or, if your claim is denied.
If your employer tells you about your right to choose a doctor and #2 does not apply, you may ONLY choose a doctor who has treated you or a member of your family before your injury.
Can your employer make you see another doctor? Your employer cannot make you seek treatment from another doctor. However, they can ask you to see another doctor for an evaluation as part of a second opinion.
What if you want to change doctors? If the doctor has been chosen AFTER your employer told you of your rights, you cannot change doctors unless your employer agrees.
What if my employer wants me to change doctors? If the doctor has been chosen AFTER your employer told you of your rights, you cannot be made to change your doctor unless you agree.
What if your injury is an emergency? If you need emergent care, you can see any doctor as soon as possible. If you need more treatment after your emergency, the above rules apply.
How long does it take to receive compensation? The amount of time varies with employers and insurers and is usually within the 30 days of notice of injury.
For more in depth answers to most frequently asked questions about workers compensation, please visit Nebraska Employee FAQ for workers compensation.
If you would like to schedule an appointment with Dr. Izadi for a workers compensation evaluation and treatment, or if you have any additional questions, please contact Ms. Jan Kruse, orthopedic workers compensation liaison, at (402) 354-0760.
You are always welcome to e-mail Dr. Izadi at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions prior to making an appointment.