If you have a PA work injury, one thing that you can do that will make your life easier is organize your medical records regarding your work injury. Some tips for how to get started follow. First, get an expandable folder to hold all of your paperwork. Everything should be in printed form, even if you type notes on your computer or handwrite it all. Next, what are some of the things that you should include in your organizational file? All of your medical appointments with doctors, physical therapists, and/or chiropractors should be documented and kept in chronological order. Also, all diagnostic studies, such as X-rays, MRIs, CAT Scans, EMG and Nerve Conduction studies should come out not only on CDs, but also in reports. These reports are invaluable to your case. After each Dr. visit, you will receive a note regarding the history that you gave, your symptoms, your examination findings, the diagnosis, and recommendations for future treatment. Keep all of these in chronological order.
There may be instances where your doctor refers you to a specialist, such as an orthopedic surgeon or a neuro-surgeon. In addition, you may require surgery or surgeries. These will require you to have pre-admission testing, an operative report regarding the procedure, and certainly follow-up visits. It is recommended that you keep the various surgeries in different folders for simplicity sake. Also to consider, if you are to do a home exercise program, keep a log of your daily progress.
Why is it so important to keep good records and be organized? If you need to hire a lawyer, your lawyer is going to want your records to review to decide if he or she wants to take your case, and evaluate your medical condition. Also, what if you have a hearing coming up quickly and need to obtain medical treatment right away to help your case? If you don’t have your records readily available, then your chances of succeeding with your case, or defending against a Petition filed to stop your benefits in some way are greatly reduced. Also, what if you are fast approaching your Statute of Limitations, meaning that you are running out of time to file a Claim Petition to allege a work injury, or file a Reinstatement Petition to try to start your benefits back up, if they were stopped? If you have all of your records, this makes it very easy for your lawyer to do his or her job, as they do not have to subpoena records, which is time consuming and due to certain rules, takes weeks to actually obtain.
Some other items to keep copies of are the initial Injury Report, if your employer actually completed one, and copies of all of your wage loss workers’ compensation checks. Keep track of telephone conversations and days missed from work. In addition, if you are involved in litigation, then keep copies of all the Petitions and/or Answers that your lawyer and the other lawyer file. When you are in litigation, you and your lawyer must work as a team. It is important that you keep your lawyer apprised of your medical condition, your return to work in any capacity, and the status of your receipt of your wage loss workers’ compensation checks. It might sound simple and like common sense…..because it is and will make things easier for you and your PA workers’ compensation case.