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Physical therapy compliance is critical for injured workers

Workers' compensation in California offers a number of benefits that protect workers who wind up sick or injured on the job. Temporary disability benefits, for example, can help workers cover their living expenses while unable to work due to an injury.

Permanent disability provides for workers whose injuries are so severe that they preclude any future professional pursuits. Retraining benefits can also help those injured so severely that their careers must change. The benefits that injured workers need the most, however, are usually medical benefits. Medical benefits cover the cost of the care that you received during your recovery.

Injured workers rely on medical coverage

From emergency trauma care in the immediate aftermath of the accident to ongoing physical therapy, occupational therapy and rehabilitation services, workers' compensation medical insurance will cover 100 percent of the medical costs associated with your injury.

However, there are mistakes that workers can make that will impact their eligibility for these critical benefits. Failing to comply with medical advice is a common and avoidable reason that people lose out on benefits.

You have to listen to your doctor in order to recover

Most people don't relish the idea of bed rest if they have been actively employed their entire adult life. Similarly, performing repetitive and potentially painful exercises as parts of a grueling physical therapy regimen may be off-putting to those who just want to get back to work.

However, if you want to receive the workers' compensation benefits that you deserve because of your injury, you will need to abide by all the instructions and requirements put in place by your doctor. Whether you need special therapy or to see a secondary medical specialist, you need to follow through with the recommendations from the physician handling your workers' compensation case.

Failing to follow through with those recommendations could result in the loss of your benefits. Your doctor will undoubtedly note your medical record to indicate your non-compliance with recommendations. Workers' compensation is less likely to continue approving medical costs when they know that the person receiving the benefits is not following through with their treatments properly.

If you don't agree with something, get a second opinion

The best and easiest way to protect yourself if there are issues with your doctor's recommendations during your treatment for a workplace injury is to get a second opinion. If you only have the opinion of one doctor and it feels highly inaccurate, you might feel tempted to follow your intuition instead of medical advice.

Unfortunately, the medical records will reflect that decision. Seeing a second doctor could provide you with additional options that are more palatable or appropriate for your circumstances. That will allow you to remain in compliance with medical recommendations and help avoid issues with your workers' compensation benefits in the future.

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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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