Federal Workers Comp Blog

Why You Should Not Wait To Call a DOL Doctor

There are many people that try to push through the pain when going through an injury on the job, and others that will go straight to the company doctor to get checked out. However, when going through a federal work comp case, you should take care in finding the best DOL doctor that have experience working with injuries and claims like the one you are going through. OWCP claims get complicated, and a DOL doctor will take the stress out of the process for you and provide you with exceptional care and information. Here are a few reasons why you should never wait to bring in a DOL doctor when an injury occurs at work.  

You Have Options

When you suffer an injury at work, you don’t have to go the company physician – you can choose a DOL doctor that is not associated with your job. Getting medical care from a doctor outside of the federal business you work for us a smart move because they won’t be thinking about your company, but they’ll be thinking about getting you the compensation and recovery you deserve. Whether you work for the USPS or the TSA, you’ll be relieved to have someone dedicated to you and your needs. 

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Your Recovery Will Be the Priority

The paperwork and legal aspect can be overwhelming, but when you involve an experienced DOL doctor, you can trust that they know how to accurately connect the injury to the activity that caused it in the work place. Many accidents can occur when working for places like the VA, and you want to fully recover so that you can get back to work, but you also shouldn’t get behind on bills and financial areas because you need time to get your body healthy and strong again. Your health is a top priority, and you’ll appreciate that the DOL doctor will communicate with many people that are involved such as your employer.

DOL Doctors Are Easy to Teach 

You can learn more about whether a DOL doctor is right for you by getting a complimentary consultation. At the appointment you can ask questions, and you’ll get clear and precise answers so that you make confident decision about your health and other aspects of getting injured on the job that may occur. Because the consultation is at no obligation to you, there is no reason not to schedule it right away. 

Continuation of Pay

When a federal worker is injured, they are entitled, by law, to what is called Continuation of Pay. According to the U.S. Department of Labor website, Continuation of Pay is described as, “continuation of an employee's regular salary...due to disability and/or medical treatment following a traumatic injury.” This allows for employees who have suffered an injury on the job to continuing getting paid while they recover from those injuries. The intent being to eliminate income disruption for injured federal workers while their claim is being processed by the OWCP.

According to the law, injured employees are eligible for C.O.P. for 45 days. To be clear, those 45 days are not required to be successive. For example, if an employee initially misses 2 days of work following an injury due to pain and then misses another day a week after the injury for a medical appointment, then a month later, the employee misses 15 days to undergo and recover from surgery, that employee has only utilized 18 days of C.O.P. and still has 27 available days of C.O.P. should another issue arise related to the injury.

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Finally, it should be noted that C.O.P. is only applicable to traumatic injuries where an injured employee has filed a CA-1 and that C.O.P. is not considered compensation and is, therefore, subject to deductions for income tax, retirement, etc.

Successful Claims

Filing a successful claim with the DOL requires two key components. Without them, you are sure to be denied and forced to go through the process again. Those components are your employee statement and the medical report.

The employee statement is provided by the injured employee. It is a detailed accounting of the incident that led to the injury and is key in establishing the what, when, how, etc. of what happened. Good employee statements are clear and thorough. The employee statement should include a statement of the duties performed on the job by the injured employee. This statement needs to take into consideration the fact that those who are going to be reading and evaluating it have little or no familiarity with your day to day work environment. Make sure that the statement is clear and without any ambiguity. The clarity of this document is key because it will be read by the medical provider and inform their opinion contained in the medical report.

The medical report is provided by the doctor who is attending to the injured employee. They will likely review the employee statement and provide a medical report that states how the injury is related to the employee's’ job. The medical report is a key piece to getting your claim approved so it is paramount that your medical provider have experience in dealing with the DOL. Even great medical providers can damage your chances at a successful claim if they’re inexperienced in the process.

Providing a good employee statement and a quality medical report can make the difference in a successful claim on the first attempt and a long, arduous process that can be discouraging and difficult.

Should I File a Claim

When you’ve been injured on the job the onus is on you as the injured worker to prove that the injury is work-related. Before filing a claim, it is important that you answer a series of questions for yourself to determine the validity of the claim:

  • What happened? This will allow you to establish a broad view of the event that led to the injury and any surrounding occurrences.

  • Where did it happen? Obviously if the injury did not occur at work or as a result of work-related activities, you will not have success in getting your claim approved.

  • When did it happen? Just because the event that led to injury didn’t happen on company time doesn’t mean that it isn’t a work-related injury. Answers to the previous questions can help you to determine if a pain that you noticed over the weekend stems from something that happened at work.

  • How did it happen? What surrounding events may have caused the injury that you suffered? Can you determine the actual source of the injury or is a result of doing the same thing over and over for an extended period of time?

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Answers to these questions will help you to establish what to do next if you have suffered an injury. If you have any questions, there are representatives available to help you and to ensure that you get the treatment you need and are able to file your claim successfully.

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