After a workplace injury, the disabled employee often needs to follow up with a specialist after being released from the hospital. In those cases where the airline has offered a “Panel” of physicians, the injured worker must choose from the panel if the airline, their insurance company or Third Party Administrator (“TPA”) will accept the treatment and ultimately pay the bills. However, airline injury lawyer Doug Landau notes that, “this is still a free country. An injured worker can see another doctor or several doctors. BUT, if the employee goes to see another doctor without a written referral, they may get stuck with the bill. Worse, the insurance company’s defense lawyers will claim that there was a “break in the referral chain,” and that the disabled air employee was “non-compliant” or simply “doctor shopping.”
WHAT MEDICAL TREATMENT IS GENERALLY COVERED AFTER AN ON THE JOB INJURY ?
It is critical to make sure that job accident medical treatment satisfies the “THREE Rs,” notes lawyer Landau. “Make sure the treatment is REASONABLE, causally RELATED and by written REFERRAL, if you and your family want any chance of the employer, insurance carrier and/or TPA being held responsible.”
In cases where no panel was offered, and the hospital did not refer the patient to a specialist or following doctor, then common sense would suggest getting names from the family doctor of good physicians in the area of medicine needed. So, if there is not already some treating doctor on an injured worker’s case, and they have a trusted internist or family medicine practitioner who knows their pre-accident health history, getting several names of neurological, orthopedic or other specialists seems like a prudent course of action to take after an on the job injury. The “referral trail” is also important because the workers compensation judges give more weight to the “attending physicians'” opinions, rather than a one time “Second Opinion” or “Insurance Medical Examination.”
If you or someone you know or care for has been injured as the result of an airport terminal, airplane or other air travel related accident and there are questions about what laws apply, e-mail or call us at ABRAMS LANDAU, Ltd. (703-796-9555) at once.