Workers’ Compensation Records: What You Should Know

As with everything related to employment, there’s always a paper trail. The Delaware workers’ compensation attorneys at Silverman, McDonald & Friedman can help you through the process to make sure your claim is submitted correctly and on time. Call us in Wilmington, Newark, or Seaford for more information.

Whenever an employee suffers an injury at the workplace, the employee must notify their employer in writing of the injury. After notification, the employee must give notice of any workers’ compensation claim within three days after the incident.

Workers’ Compensation Records: What You Should Know

All information related to that Delaware workers’ compensation claim will be collected and filed for the employer’s records. Even after the employee receives his or her workers’ compensation benefits, employers must keep all pertinent information related to the workers’ compensation claim filed for future purposes.

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What information is included in workers’ compensation records?

The information included in workers’ compensation records includes all details about an employee’s previous workers’ compensation claims concerning any injuries that occurred on the job. Some of the information includes the type of injury the employee sustained, the body part that was injured, the date of the incident, the employer’s insurance company, and the time lost. The employee’s medical records are also collected to help ensure that the job-related injury is properly documented. Due to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), an employee’s medical records must be kept in a separate file outside of their regular personnel file.

Why should employees keep copies of all medical records?

When it comes to workers’ compensation claims, medical records are the main type of information that determines whether an employee’s claim is approved or denied. Just like other workers, medical professionals are capable of making mistakes when performing their duties. The medical professional may fail to include information in an employee’s medical records that supports or aligns with the job-related injury.

Employees want to make sure that their medical records are as accurate as possible. Employees also should remain aware of the lengths that insurance agencies will take to use their medical records to deny their claims. For example, insurers may argue that an employee had a previous condition around the time of their workplace accident, and use the employee’s medical records in an effort to prove that fact and reduce the employee’s benefits.

How can keeping track of all medical records benefit employees in the future?

Not all injuries follow a clear path to recovery. Some take longer than others, and some may never fully heal. The injury that the employee sustained may require constant or permanent medical treatment in the future. Keeping an accurate track of one’s medical records will help prevent employees from being denied future medical treatment. Even if insurance agencies attempt to deny employees, medical records will help to strengthen the employee’s case.

Can an employer deny a medical records request?

In many cases, it is illegal for an employer to deny an employee the right to receive copies of their medical records. On a federal level, it is definitely in violation of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) laws. If employees find themselves in this type of situation, the best course of action is to determine whether the employee has a legal right to obtain their medical records and make sure that the employee is using the correct protocol in obtaining them.

Some employees discover that additional action, such as signatures and letter-writing, must be taken on their part. If an employee discovers that they have a right to obtain their records, have followed the correct protocols, and waited for an adequate amount of time for the employer to delay responding to their request (which is 60 days), the employee can file a formal complaint against their employer.

Can employers send a copy of an employee’s medical records to their insurance agency?

Yes, but they are limited in what they can send. An employer cannot send a copy of an employee’s medical records to a workers’ compensation insurance agency without the employee’s permission. To do so would be a violation of the employee’s HIPAA laws. Even if the insurance agency needed a copy of an employee’s medical records, the insurance agency is not privy to all of the employee’s medical information. The insurance agency only needs to know about information pertaining to the job-related injury, so that’s all they can send.

What if medical records have been disclosed without permission?

If an employer decides to share an employee’s medical records without the employee’s permission, that employer is in violation of several federal and state laws. In addition to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), HIPAA and state privacy laws have been violated by the employer.

An employee’s course of action is dependent upon the laws that have been violated. An employee may have to reach out to a federal administrative agency and file a written complaint with that agency. If the employer has violated any specific state laws, the employee may have to sue the employer in court. To determine the best course of action, an employee should reach out to an attorney and seek legal counsel on the best way to proceed.

You need a skilled legal advisor to protect your right to compensation for work-related injuries. Silverman, McDonald & Friedman has been helping workers for decades in their goal to get a fair workers’ compensation award. If you have suffered an injury that makes it difficult for you to travel to our office, we will come to your home. You can reach us toll-free at 302-888-2900 or by filling out our contact form to make an appointment at one of our offices in Wilmington, Newark, or Seaford.