No matter how careful you are or how well your employer has complied with safety regulations, you still might get injured or sick on the job. What happens then?
If you live in the Florham Park, New Jersey, area, you can turn to Omni-Med Family Care & Urgent Care and medical director Dr. Roger DiRuggiero, a specialist in industrial medicine. He and our staff do everything we can to help you recover quickly, as well as get compensated for your care. Here’s what you need to know.
The 411 on industrial medicine
Industrial medicine, now called occupational medicine, is a wide-ranging medical specialty defined by the American Medical Association as “devoted to the prevention and management of occupational and environmental injury, illness and disability, and promotion of health and productivity of workers, their families and communities.”
Practitioners like Dr. DiRuggiero who specialize in industrial medicine serve as the liaison between the employee, the employer, government agencies, and all parts of the healthcare system responsible for evaluating and treating workplace injuries and illnesses.
What is workers’ compensation?
Workers’ compensation is a “no fault” insurance program. It provides partial or total disability benefits to employees who suffer injuries or illnesses while on the job. This means that an injured employee receives benefits no matter who was at fault, but in exchange, the worker can’t bring a civil suit against the employer for pain and suffering or other damages, except as a result of intentional acts.
What steps do I need to take if I was injured on the job?
If you’re injured or become ill while on the job, the first thing you need to do is to notify your employer as soon as possible. You can speak with a supervisor, the personnel office, or someone else in authority — you don’t need to submit the notification in writing.
If your injury requires medical treatment, tell your employer this at the time of notification. You can go to your regular physician or the emergency room for an immediate evaluation, but be aware that under New Jersey workers’ compensation law, your employer and/or their WC insurance carrier has the right to select which medical provider you see for treatment after that point. They may request a physician like Dr. DiRuggiero, who routinely handles workers’ compensation cases. He diagnoses your problem and draws up an individualized treatment plan that addresses the type and severity of your medical problem.
Once your employer receives your notification, they’ll notify their insurance carrier so a First Report of Injury can be filed with the State. The carrier evaluates the claim to determine its validity under WC law, speaking with you, your employer, and the treating physician to obtain all the relevant information. If you’re out of work for more than seven days, they’ll also provide you with temporary disability benefits during your rehabilitation.
Within 26 weeks (six months) after you return to work or reach your maximum medical improvement, the carrier submits another form to the state called the Subsequent Report of Injury, while sending you a copy for your review. This report details your eligibility to receive either partial or total benefits, depending on the severity and duration of your injury.
If you disagree with the assessment, you have the right to file a claim with the Division of Workers’ Compensation. For more information on the process, please visit the Department of Labor’s "How to File a Claim" page.
I’m overwhelmed. How can I handle all this?
Here at Omni-Med Family Care & Urgent Care, we know that your primary concerns are to get treatment and get better, not deal with paperwork. That’s why we help you through the process of filling out all the necessary forms and act as the point-of-contact for your employer and the insurance company. We’ll also keep you apprised of any developments in your case and advocate for needed treatment.
Have you been injured or become sick while at work? Omni-Med Family Care & Urgent Care is where you need to go for all aspects of your medical treatment and administrative tasks. Give us a call at 973-377-8776, or schedule a consultation with Dr. DiRuggiero online today.