Can My Medical Appointments For My Workers’ Compensation Claim Be Done During Work Hours?

Nobody likes to go to work or office in the morning, expecting to be in the ER by lunchtime. Many accidents and injuries in California, unfortunately, happen on the job on a daily basis, even to employees who are very careful to avoid them. 

If you have an illness or injury that might be covered by California workers’ compensation, it is vital to take all the right steps when you are seeking medical treatment. If you get hurt or injured during your shift, it is crucial to seek prompt and suitable medical treatment – this is true even if you do not think that your injuries are serious or grave at the time.

It is worth mentioning that if you file for workers’ compensation in California, you will have to show that you were serious and proactive about seeing a medical doctor. 

Keep in mind that getting appropriate and urgent medical care in California is important, not just for your health and overall recovery, but also to maximize your workers’ compensation benefits and make sure that you are adequately compensated for all your injuries.

What are Workers’ Compensation Medical Appointments?

Under California Workers’ Compensation Law, an injured worker attends both medical treatment appointments as well as medical evaluations as a key part of their comp claims. These medical appointments usually provide either medical treatment or assess and evaluate aspects of an injured worker’s claim. The aspects include permanent disability.

Medical Appointments during Work Hours 

If you are wondering whether you can schedule your medical appointments for your workers’ comp claim during work hours, you are not alone. A lot of people in California are confused about this. While the Fair Labor Standards Act indicates that the time spent on medical appointments constitutes hours worked, recent case law from the Court of Appeals has indicated employees must use sick time to go to the doctor during work hours. As such workers must attend medical appointments after or before work.

In most cases, this scenario often takes place on the day of the worker’s injury, when an employer is directing the worker to seek medical attention the day of your injury. Unfortunately, the Court of Appeals appears to believe that workers must use their sick time to do so. The good news is that you will be reimbursed for mileage to and from your medical appointments. You must keep track of your trips and submit these requests timely.

Can The Insurance Provider Schedule A Medical Appointment For Me?

Note that there isn’t a hard and fast answer to this important question. Although insurance companies in California do have some ability and discretion to schedule specific workers comp doctor’s appointments, keep in mind that they do not get to completely direct all your medical treatment.

So, what does that mean? In some cases, many insurance companies in the state will try to schedule all or most of your medical appointments for you. And they might even reschedule and cancel your appointments.

The rule of thumb is that you may direct your treatment in California and that the insurance provider can’t force you to visit the doctor for an appointment at a particular time or day. However, insurance companies do have a few rights under California’s workers’ compensation law for scheduling medical appointments. One of the main ways an insurance provider may schedule an appointment stems from their ability to compel you to return to an authorized treating physician in case you’ve not seen that doctor in a while.

Follow-up Appointments

Note that if you file for workers’ compensation in California and return to work with some limitations, you will have to attend follow-up doctors’ appointments in order to continue receiving your benefits. Keep in mind that under California Labor Code 4600.

Get Help from a Professional Workers’ Comp Attorney in California

Workers’ compensation cases in California can be complex and tricky to navigate, particularly if your employer’s insurance provider is aggressively fighting your compensation claim or refusing to authorize your medical treatment (such as surgery and other expensive medical procedures) that your treating healthcare professional has recommended.

You must always attend scheduled medical appointments and therapy for your workers’ comp injury in California. Our skilled and experienced workers’ compensation lawyers in California know that all injured workers worry about getting adequate medical care, paying for the medical care on top of many other living expenses, and then having a job to return to as soon as they have recovered from their work injury. No one expects to get hurt or injured on the job, but it is a reality we all have to face.

If you are hurt on the job, getting the help of a competent and experienced workers’ compensation attorney in California can be valuable in making sure that you are fully compensated for your loss and can get all the needed medical treatment to return to your job.

A local attorney with workers’ compensation expertise and knowledge may also be able to refer you to suitable doctors who can offer proper care and strong and credible medical evidence in order to support your compensation case.