Dealing with the frustrations of delayed treatment in workers comp cases
Medical services must be provided in a timely fashion
One of the biggest frustrations in a workers compensation case is how long it can take to schedule testing and treatment. Insurance carriers are responsible for furnishing medical care for workers who have filed a workers compensation claim. While the insurance companies like to think this means they can pick the doctor, they must make sure that all medical services, testing supplies and treatments are delivered in a timely fashion. This does not always happen.
Delays in treatment and testing can result in a fine against the workers comp insurance company
Our firm sees many delays in scheduling treatment and testing for our workers compensation clients. This is very, very frustrating for the injured worker and our firm! We know how to deal with these delays. The Indiana workers compensation judges do have the discretion to award monetary fines against insurance companies who act without any diligence. We call this a lack of diligence. To obtain an award of lack of diligence requires a court date.
Applications for Adjustment of Claim can take time to resolve
It can be difficult to secure an award of lack of diligence fine because most judges do not like to deal with a claim for a fine every time a delay occurs.
Consider this example:
An MRI is ordered on September 1st and it is October 15th and the injured worker hasn’t heard anything about scheduling. It’s not as simple as calling the workers compensation judge and having him or her issue a fine. The worker must file a form with the Workers Compensation Board called an Application for Adjustment of Claim which results in giving the Board power to make decisions over the case. The Board then issues the worker a 5-digit code, which essentially gives him or her the right to ask for a meeting with the judge.
However, most judges do not like to have multiple hearings in a case so they prefer to defer all disputed issues to the end of the case. This makes it difficult to obtain a fine as a way of expediting treatment.
Workers compensation judges do not like to have multiple hearings for a single case
Think about these delays and potential fines like disciplining a child. If the child misbehaves and you discipline the child a year later, how effective is that? Our firm has asked hearing members many, many times to address fines immediately after the delay occurs. Occasionally, a judge agrees to do so, but most of the time the judge declines.
As a result, the insurance companies oftentimes get away with delaying testing and treatment that is necessary for the worker to recover. This is not right and not fair.
Above all else, stay focused on your own recovery and consult with an experienced workers comp attorney when necessary
If you’ve been injured at work and would like to consult with an experienced workers compensation attorney, contact us at Klezmer Maudlin. We care about fighting for the rights of injured persons and workers throughout the state of Indiana. With offices in Evansville, Indianapolis, Lafayette, New Harmony, and Jeffersonville (Louisville, KY), we are well-equipped to handle your case.