Visitor Question

Can an employer prevent a worker from seeking medical treatment?

Submitted By: Kathy (Wisconsin)

I have a coworker who fell at work and my general manager told her she could not go to the emergency room because it would be too expensive.

I feel like this is wrong.

Can an employer legally tell an employee they cannot seek emergency treatment? Should she have been able to go to the emergency room? If so, what should she have done, and what can she do about it now? Thank you.

Disclaimer: Our response is not formal legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. It is generic legal information based on the very limited information provided. Do not rely upon the information in our response, or anywhere else on this site, when deciding the proper course of a legal matter. Always get a personalized case review from a local attorney.

Answer

Dear Kathy,

An employer can never prohibit an employee from seeking medical care. When your coworker’s employer told her not to go to the emergency room, your coworker should have ignored the employer and gone directly to the hospital.

This is not a third world country where employers are able to deny their employees the right to seek medical care. If your coworker wasn’t well enough to drive to the emergency room, another coworker should have driven her. If the other coworkers weren’t so disposed, then you or your coworkers could have called 911 and summoned the paramedics.

This all presumes the coworker’s injuries were serious enough to merit emergency treatment. Without knowing the type of injuries she sustained, it’s impossible to know whether immediate emergency room medical care was required. In any event, one’s health is more important than anything else. Hopefully your coworker’s injuries aren’t serious.

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from a licensed attorney. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here , or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck,

Published: December 16, 2013

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