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Why listening to your doctor matters in workers' comp cases

If you are like most Americans, you probably have a deep respect for the knowledge and skill that your physician has acquired through both education and work experience. You rely on your doctor to provide an accurate diagnosis when you become ill and workable treatment plans to help you address or minimize your symptoms.

However, despite the respect that you have for their education and position, you may find yourself struggling to follow through with their recommendations, particularly if their suggestions include daily work, such as exercises or medications you don't want to take. You may feel like the recommendations won't help or like you don't have the time, money or energy to follow their instructions.

If you don't agree with the recommendations that a physician offers, you do have the right to seek a second opinion, even as a workers' compensation recipient, in most cases. However, if you completely fail to follow through on a doctor's recommendations, that could have a negative effect on the success of any future California workers' compensation claims related to that condition.

If you don't do the work, you may have limited options available

Your prognosis or potential for a full recovery after a serious workplace injury will vary depending on a number of circumstances. For example, your ongoing pain levels may directly reflect how successful a procedure is at mitigating symptoms or your willingness to complete stretches and exercises to improve your strength and range of motion. Lack of movement can be a dangerous thing when you heal.

In other words, non-compliance with the medical recommendations of your physician could make your injury and its symptoms worse over time. Unfortunately, while you are the one who will suffer the consequences of that decision, you may find yourself dealing with financial consequences as well. Your employer or their insurance provider may be able to claim that your inaction is a big part of your current medical issue.

Appropriate follow through to help ensure you receive benefits

Although failing to follow through with medical recommendations can impact your options for compensation, the opposite is also true. If you carefully and thoroughly comply with the recommendations of your doctor related to your injury, you will then have documentation of your compliance and the ongoing issues caused by your condition.

At that point, any residual symptoms will not be your responsibility for failing to take action or follow through, but rather the original injury's fault by causing the underlying issue for your pain.

There are many small mistakes that people can make during the process of seeking workers' compensation benefits that can limit their rights or reduce what they should receive. Talking with an attorney who has experience with California workers' compensation claims can help you avoid common pitfalls.

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