Left Fielder Corey Dickerson, of the Philadelphia Phillies, was just diagnosed with a broken foot. Why is that relevant to injured workers? Because it confirms that an injury is not always what it initially appears. Unlike a major league baseball player, however, an injured worker is not always given the benefit of the doubt.
On September 4, 2019, Dickerson fouled a ball off his left foot. They took x-rays that night, which were negative for a fracture. Since he was diagnosed with just a bruise (or, the fancy word, “contusion”), Dickerson then played, in pain, in the next several games. When the pain continued, additional testing was performed. Only then did a CT scan reveal a fracture of the left foot. Indeed, Dickerson may now require surgery.
Too often in PA workers’ compensation cases, we see an insurance carrier grab on to an initial negative test like a dog with a bone. Unlike a professional athlete, however, an injured worker can have great difficulty getting additional diagnostic testing. With the workers’ comp insurance carrier failing to provide pre-approval, getting an MRI, CT scan or bone scan, can be problematic.
This situation reminds us that a diagnostic test is just one piece of the puzzle. A negative x-ray (or MRI) does not mean there is no damage or injury. We rely on doctors and medical professionals to use their skills and experience to know, from symptoms and clinical examination, whether there may be more damage than appears on initial diagnostic testing. Sometimes, since an adversarial insurance carrier is involved, the additional diagnostic testing cannot be obtained.
The injured worker ultimately has to be his or her own advocate to make sure he or she is getting the best care, so a recovery can be reached as soon as possible. To get the best care, the injured worker has to be properly diagnosed. Sometimes, it is only the insistence of the injured worker that leads to subsequent diagnostic testing, which can reveal a previously-hidden condition. For the best protection possible, the injured worker should have an attorney in his or her corner, to make sure the best care is given.
Both of our attorneys are Certified as Specialists in Workers’ Compensation Law. Collectively, our attorneys have over 50 years of experience navigating the waters of the Pennsylvania workers’ compensation system. Give us a call today to learn how we can protect your rights and help get you back to the life you had before suffering a work injury.