We have recently come across a problem that is affecting several of our clients and potential clients. We have had several situations of cases where potential clients are being told by their employers to report to their medical providers that an accident that occurred at work occurred at home or some other place that has nothing to do with the workplace. The employers are attempting to do this to avoid making a workers compensation claim against their insurance or other coverage. However, in our experience, most of the employers who are taking these kinds of actions generally have some kind of problem with their worker’s compensation insurance or they make empty promises about how they will pay any medical bills that are generated from workers comp related medical treatment out of pocket instead of turning it into insurance.
In my experience, these promises generally go unfulfilled once the employer receives the bills from the medical providers as most employers have no idea what medical costs are or could be for something such as an emergency room visit or physical therapy.
The more important issue in this type of situation is that once medical records are finalized they are very difficult if not impossible to change. However, once the bad history is in the medical records, the damage is already done. Even if you are successful in getting an amendment placed in your medical records that usually will not delete the prior bad history but just add your new history.
This is important because numerous workers compensation arbitrators put a great deal of weight into the initial medical history found in the medical records from the first point of medical care. Therefore, if that history reflects that a potential work comp injury occurred at home instead of at work that can work to make a nearly insurmountable obstacle to overcome.
What should I take from this?
If you are injured at work, you should always tell your medical providers that the accident occurred at work regardless of what your employer tells you. This will allow you to present your situation in the light most favorable to you both then and in the future. The truth is the best answer in this case as it generally is when evaluating law questions.