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Talking to a Workers\’ Compensation Doctor

If you are hurt at work, you will often be able to pursue a workers’ compensation claim. This would be the case even if the injury was your fault.

Injured employees do not always feel comfortable discussing their injuries. They might struggle to find the right words to use when describing their injuries. For example, if you have a pre-existing condition or lingering pain from a prior injury, you might wonder if the doctor will believe you when it comes to describing your current workplace injury.

Today’s blog will help you prepare for everyday conversations you might have with your workers’ comp physician. We\’ll cover everything from embarrassing injuries, to re-injuries, to words that can help you describe your pain. Remember, if you have any questions about your Southern MN workers\’ comp claim, feel free to contact our trusted legal team.

Be Completely Honest About Re-Injury When Talking to Your Workers\’ Comp Physician

Sometimes, an injured worker might feel reluctant to admit they were injured before. For example, strains and sprains are common workplace injuries, particularly among construction workers, HVAC installers, and steelworkers. Sprains and strains damage the soft tissue and can be far more painful than a broken bone. Once a tendon or ligament is damaged, it is often never the same. Soft tissue re-injuries are very common.

Know that a past injury doesn\’t disqualify you for workers’ compensation in Minnesota!

Additionally, physicians know that re-injuries are common, and they also know how to diagnosis them. They will probably also see if you are dishonest. If you have already experienced an injury and then get re-injured at work, there is no reason to mislead a doctor. If a serious re-injury happened at work, you could still qualify for workers\’ compensation. 

Imagine you sprained your right ankle while hiking ten years ago. It was a painful time! You spent about two months on the sofa with pain meds, pressure wraps, and bags of ice. Back then, you would not have qualified for workers\’ compensation because the injury occurred during your personal time while away from work.

Now, a decade later, you sprain that same ankle at your construction job. It\’s a severe strain, and you won\’t be able to work for about two months.

Will this injury qualify for workers\’ comp? Yes, it most likely will! The Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry website states that “A work-related injury can be any condition that is caused, aggravated or accelerated by the employment activities.” In Minnesota, workers\’ comp covers traumatic injuries, repetitive type injuries, occupational diseases, and even PTSD.

  • Workers\’ comp is a \”no-fault\” system. That means neither side needs to “prove” the other is at fault.
  • If you were hurt at work, you are probably covered.

Even then, we know some workplace injuries are harder to talk about than others.

How to Talk About Private or Awkward Injuries: Hernias, Groin Injuries, etc.

A hernia occurs when an organ pushes through a tear in the muscle tissue. These tissues or organs can “leak” from one part of the body to another. Depending on where the hernia occurs, it can range from mildly painful to debilitating pain and can even become life-threatening if certain organs—like your intestines—push through the tear.

We do not mean to scare you. The point is, you should not forgo treatment just because an injury might seem embarrassing at first. These types of injuries can be quite severe and should be treated as such.

Additionally, workers’ compensation doctors are extremely well-trained; they have seen it all. We know that some injuries are embarrassing to talk about because of the location of the wound. But we promise, no injury will be a shock to your workers\’ comp physician. They have seen it all!

Sometimes the easiest way to get comfortable in the conversation is to acknowledge your embarrassment. Say something like, “Gosh, it\’s embarrassing to show you this, but this is where the injury is.”

Also, before your appointment, think of a few words that describe your pain. You will want to be precise about the type of pain you are experiencing.

Words That Describe Your Workplace Injury

Physicians know that everyone has a different level of pain tolerance. But you can help your workers\’ comp doctor understand your experience by using the right words.

For instance, pain can be:

  • Throbbing or pounding
  • Aching
  • Piercing or stabbing
  • Cramping and tightening
  • Pulling
  • Hot
  • Sudden or constant

Furthermore, you might notice the pain is exacerbated by certain activities or at certain times of the day. Many people who suffer from tendon injuries or sprains and strains in their legs, for instance, suffer badly in the mornings when they take their first steps out of bed. That is because the tendons have been healing and tightening overnight. Mornings can be an excruciating time for some injuries!

People who have suffered back or neck injuries might notice their pain worsens when they lie down or sit in a chair. By explaining these issues to your workers\’ comp doctor, you will help them understand what you are experiencing.

List Any Other Issues Related to Your Injury

Explain any medical issues or strange happenings, too. After an injury, you might experience things like:

  • A feeling of “pins and needles” (paresthesia)
  • Headaches
  • Ringing in your ears (tinnitus)
  • Itching
  • Lightheadedness
  • Fainting
  • Drowsiness
  • Trouble sleeping due to pain
  • Queasiness or vomiting
  • Anxiety
  • Difficulty breathing, chest pain, or a pounding heart

Tell the workers\’ comp doctor everything, just remember to be honest!

If you need help with your workers\’ comp claim, reach out to a qualified and experienced legal professional at Harvey & Carpenter.

Reach Out to Harvey & Carpenter, Mankato Workers\’ Comp Lawyers

The attorneys at Harvey & Carpenter have handled thousands of cases and won countless injured workers the benefits they deserve. Ruth Harvey and Chris Carpenter have over five decades of experience representing employees in Southern MN. They will work hard to get you all the compensation and benefits you deserve. Remember, we do not get paid unless you do. So if you have been injured at work, do not wait. Contact us today.

Keep in mind: any condition / injury caused, accelerated, or worsened by a work-related activity should be considered for workers\’ comp benefits. If you have been injured on the job, or if you are experiencing other work-related medical conditions in Mankato or surrounding Southern Minnesota counties, contact us now for a free consultation.


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