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Employer's responsibility in your medical care

When it comes to medical care for work-related injuries in California, the law is fairly clear that it is the responsibility of an employer to pay medical bills. In fact, it is illegal for a medical personnel to send bills to a worker if it either known or suspected that an injury is work-related. Still, these protections depend on workers properly filing claims for a workplace injury. despite these protections, there are still some areas that can become complicated to navigate.

Sometimes, in the course of treatment, a physician may recommend that you have a form of treatment that is not expressly covered in the official treatment guidelines. In cases like these, the claims administrator handling your case will usually still be required to pay for the treatment, as long as it falls within accepted scientific guidelines upheld by the general medical community. Alternative medicinal treatments may be more difficult to get covered. Similarly, it is worth noting that these stipulations apply to ongoing treatment agreements, and may be extended to cover treatments significantly after the injury.

There are some treatments that have come to have specific limits, such as occupational therapy, chiropractic, and physical therapy sessions. These kinds of treatments are limited to only 24 sessions of each, unless your claims administrator approves further sessions in writing. An exception to this limit is for the use of these treatments during post-surgery recovery.

Each employer is different when it comes to how it cares (or does not care) for its employees. If you have been injured on the job, it is always wise to consult with an experienced attorney before handing the entirety of your care over to your employer. While many employers take the care of their employees seriously, there's no reason why you should gamble with your health.

Source: California Department of Industrial Relations, "Workers’ Compensation in California: A Guidebook for Injured Workers," accessed Dec. 09, 2016

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Making a false or fraudulent workers’ compensation claim is a felony subject to 5 years in prison or up to $50,000 or double the value of the fraud, whichever is greater, or by both imprisonment and fine.

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