Visitor Question

Is it still worker’s comp when two doctors disagree?

Submitted By: Anonymous (Kapolei, Hawaii)

My finger got caught in a shopping cart and then smashed on a conveyor belt while I was working in the state of Hawaii. I went to the E.R where they did an x-ray and my diagnosis was a closed, non-displaced fracture of the middle phalanx of my right middle finger, initial encounter. They put a splint on my finger and that was it.

I then went back to work to file a workman’s comp claim because of the diagnosis. They scheduled a doctor visit for me, but when I went to the doctor 2 days later, he told me that it’s not a work-related injury. He said that it’s arthritis and not fractured. He gave me medicated patches and told me to come back in 1 week.

I’m just confused on what’s happening now. Is this a workman’s comp claim or not? I’ve missed several days of work already and more to come because he wants to see me in a week. I don’t know what to do, or who to talk to.

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 Anonymous,

Most full-time and part-time employees who suffer from any injury or disease resulting from work or working conditions are covered under Hawaii’s workers compensation laws.

Ask your treating physician to send the medical reports and bills to your employer’s insurance company. The physician should call your employer for the name of the insurance carrier.

If you are not satisfied with your treating physician you may obtain treatment from a physician of your choice who is practicing on the island you reside on. If your chosen physician chooses not to treat your work injury, then you must choose a different physician. Ask your treating physician to refer you to a specialist in hand injuries.

You may change your attending physician once, but you must notify the employer’s insurance carrier before making the change. Any other changes in physician require approval from the employer’s insurance carrier or the State of Hawaii Disability Compensation Division.

Your employer’s workers compensation insurance company should be responsible for paying for the following:

  • Treatments for your injury
  • Hospital charges (if applicable)
  • Prescription drugs ordered by your doctor
  • X-rays as prescribed
  • Physical therapy as ordered by your doctor
  • Reasonable transportation expense incidental to treatment (keep track of your expenses and mileage)

If the physicians continue to insist your injury is not work related, you would be best served by seeking the advice and counsel of several worker’s compensation attorneys in your area. Most won’t charge for an initial office consultation.

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: October 19, 2017

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