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Obtaining workers’ compensation for chronic job-related pain

In our last post, we began looking at the problem of opioid abuse in connection with workplace injury. The problem, of course, is not only seen among injured workers, but it is an issue that workers’ compensation insurers are working to address, partially to cut costs and partially to ensure more effective treatments and better prevention for workers.  

Chronic job-related pain can be every bit as disruptive to a worker as acute pain, yet workers who suffer from chronic pain may not know what to do about their situation because of a lack of clarity about the origin of the pain and whether they are eligible for workers’ compensation on that basis. Given that coverage for workers’ compensation claims depends on understanding the rules of the process, it is important to have guidance. 

The rules governing treatment of workers with chronic pain are found in the New York State Medical Treatment Guidelines. Medical providers treating an injured worker through the workers’ compensation system are required to utilize the guidelines. Under these guidelines, the aim of all medical care and treatment is to restore a worker’s functional ability so that he or she is able to perform daily job duties and to get back to his or her pre-injury status to a reasonable degree.

The Medical Treatment Guidelines provide for the best available treatment for workers who suffer from injury to the back, neck, knee or shoulder. Workers’ compensation patients are supposed to receive quick treatment when their doctors make proper use of the guidelines.

In our next post, we’ll look a bit more at the guidelines and when it may be helpful to work with an experienced legal advocate in cases involving chronic on-the-job pain.