What Are Lifetime Medical Benefits?
If a workplace accident causes you harm, or you develop an occupational disease, workers’ compensation covers medical expenses for as long as you need care. If you suffer a debilitating or catastrophic injury, you might require medical attention for the remainder of your life. To learn more about obtaining Lifetime Medical Benefits, talk with a Roanoke workers’ compensation attorney from Lugar Injury Law. You can reach us through our online form or call (540) 384-0348 to schedule your free initial consultation.
What Lifetime Medical Benefits Include
After suffering a workplace injury or occupational disease, workers’ compensation should cover all of your reasonable and necessary medical expenses, such as:
- Emergency treatment
- Diagnostic tests
- Doctor?s visits
- Surgeries and other procedures
- Pain pumps
- Assistive devices
- Palliative care
- Chiropractic care
- Physical therapy
- Occupational therapy
- Follow-up care
- At-home care
- Nursing home
- Mental health treatment
- Air conditioning
- Home renovations
- Vehicle modifications
- Exercise equipment/gym membership
- Orthopedic footwear
There Are No Copays or Deductibles
Under workers’ compensation insurance in Virginia, there are no copays or deductibles. Your employer and its workers’ compensation insurance provider are responsible for all of your medical expenses related to your injury or condition.
How to Get Lifetime Medical Benefits
Obtaining medical benefits requires filing your workers’ compensation claim within the required period. You should tell your employer about the accident or diagnosis as soon as possible. Virginia law gives you two years from the date of an accident or diagnosis to file a claim with the Workers’ Compensation Commission. You might have five years from the time your job last exposed you to the condition that caused an occupational disease. Certain diseases, like asbestosis, have different time limits.
Your employer should provide a panel of three physicians for you to choose from. Of course, if you need immediate care, never hesitate to go to an emergency room. Your employer has to offer doctors who specialize in treating your type of injury or condition. The physicians can?t work in the same practice group, and they have to have offices near where you live. You have the right to know whether these doctors take your insurance, but you have to request that information from your employer.
If your employer doesn?t provide you with the list, you can choose your physician. Once a doctor begins treating you, they can send you to other doctors and specialists. Remember: workers’ comp insurance doesn?t have to cover medical care from other physicians you seek out on your own. Also, you can?t change your primary doctor without approval from your employer or a Commission hearing.
Insurance Might Deny Medical Care
Virginia workers’ compensation law says you?re entitled to medical care. But that won?t stop an insurance company from trying to limit their expenses. The insurer might deny a medical procedure or service your treating physician recommends. When this happens, be prepared to work with a VA workers’ comp lawyer and fight back. The law entitles you to all reasonable and necessary care related to your workplace injury or occupational disease.
Be Mindful of Your Nurse Case Manager
During your medical treatment, you?ll be assigned a nurse case manager. This professional gives information about your care to the workers’ comp insurance company. All too often, they put the insurance company?s best interest first. They might try to lower your disability rating or convince your doctor to say you?re ready to go back to work too soon or use a less costly treatment.
You have rights when it comes to your medical care and your nurse case manager. You don?t have to allow them into your doctor?s appointments. If the nurse case manager comes into an appointment with a doctor, you can ask them to leave or ask the doctor for privacy, and they should ask the manager to leave. Nurse case managers might try to talk with your doctor privately. If your manager tries to remain behind after an appointment to talk with the doctor, ask to join the conversation.
If you?re at all worried your nurse case manager isn?t looking out for your well-being and is favoring the insurance company, call us today. They might be trying to cut off your lifetime medical benefits.
Talk with a Lawyer Before Considering a Lump Sum
After a serious workplace accident or learning you have an occupational disease, you might be interested in a workers’ compensation settlement. Getting a lump sum can be helpful when you?re unable to work, and bills are piling up. But you should never agree to a lump sum without talking to an attorney first. If you?re going to need future medical care, you need to think about how much that will cost carefully.
Let Lugar Injury Law Explain Lifetime Medical Benefits
When you suffer an injury because of your job, you?re entitled to medical care related to that condition for the rest of your life. But getting your lifetime medical benefits is a different story. It can be tough to get your claim approved and to get all of your medical care covered by the insurer. We recommend you work with a seasoned Roanoke workers’ compensation attorney from the beginning.