Interviewer: What are some common misconceptions people have about workers comp?
You Are Entitled to Wages for the First 3 Days you Miss Work If You Will Be Absent for More Than 14 Days Due to a Work-Related Injury
Kevin Roach: A common misconception is that one that we touched on earlier -- where if you're injured at work and were not paid for those first three days after you were injured and unable to work; you are supposed to be paid for those first three days if you miss more than 14 days from work.
A lot of times insurance companies will tell them initially you're not entitled those first three days. Technically you are and a lot of times those first three days get forgotten about. Oftentimes we have to recover TTD for that amount for our clients.
The Employer Does Have the Right to Choose the Medical Provider
Another misconception would be sometimes people will think they get to choose their doctor. They don't like the doctor that that workers comp is sending them to so they can choose another doctor of their liking. That's not true. If the insurance company or their employer is authorizing treatment and they send you to Dr. Smith, you have to go to Dr. Smith. Even if Dr. Smith is rude to you and you don't believe he is providing proper treatment, you still have to go to that doctor.
You Will Be Responsible for Medical Bills, Even If you Have Health Insurance, If You Seek Treatment Outside of Workers Comp
If you seek treatment outside of workers comp and go to the doctor on your own, then you're really taking a chance. This option could leave you being held responsible for any medical costs that are incurred. Generally, if it's an accepted claim, even if you have your own health insurance, your health insurance is not going to pay that bill because it's a work-related injury.
You Can Seek Treatment of Your Choice If Your Claim Is Denied
That's generally not a good idea. However, you can opt to treat on your own if your claim is denied. That's kind of a confusing area. We see a lot of claims that are initially denied and therefore the employee is free to treat with whoever they want. There's a distinction in there. Usually your doctor will require that you provide them with a denial letter from your employer. It's definitely a good idea to get that in writing before you treat on your own.
Are Subcontractors and Independent Contractors Protected by Workers Compensation?
Interviewer: How does workers comp factor into independent contractors or subcontractors injuries? Does it make a difference?
Kevin Roach: If you have five or more employees, you are required to have workers comp coverage. I see this time and time again with roofers; you’ve worked for a certain individual who has contracted out with another company. Sometimes you file a work comp claim and maybe the company that you necessarily didn't work for may have created an unsafe work environment, so there may be negligence there.
You may actually be able to file a third-party claim against the other company. It is kind of a tough situation and is definitely a case specific matter as far as independent contractors go.