TRRR Workers’ Comp Importance of Disclosing Injury on C3 Form
Hi, I’m Bill Turley. I’m one of the senior partners here at Turley, Redmond, Rosasco & Rosasco Full Service Workers’ Compensation, Social Security, Disability, and Veteran’s Benefits Firm. What I’m going to talk to you today about is the question of whether you are required to disclose information about prior illnesses or injuries when you make a workers’ compensation claim, and the answer is yes. You’re first going to encounter this when you make your claim and have to fill out different incident reports or accident reports, but especially on the Workers’ Compensation Board form C3, it’s an employee’s claim for injury. And if you notice on page two of that form, which you can get off of the Workers’ Compensation Board website, there’s a very specific question they ask. And it says, “Do you remember having another injury to the same body part or a similar illness, and if so, were you treated by a doctor?” And they further go on to ask you, “Was this a work-related injury,” and, “Were you working for the same employer that you are now?” It is important for you to address this question and to answer it because if you fail to disclose this information, you could have to answer allegations about insurance fraud. So, very simply, you know, for example, if you have a back injury and you had a previous car accident, you should disclose that on the form. Okay? And you should also list the name of the doctor who treated you for that injury.
And there is a separate form that accompanies the C3.3, and it’s called a C3.3. Okay? And this is an authorization for the insurance company and the Workers’ Compensation Board to obtain medical information from your previously treating doctor. Okay? So, again, it is important that you do answer that question. Now, very often people might not remember, you know? And, you know, if you think you may have injured yourself before, you’re not really sure, you can just put, “I do not recall.” And another common thing I come up with here is that…I come across here is that a lot of times people can’t remember the doctor who treated them for their previous injury since, you know, sometimes it was many, many years ago. You can also…there’s room for you to write here on the form, you can say, “I was treated previously, but I don’t recall the name of the doctor who treated me.” You know, very simple. But, you know, it really is important that you are honest about this and that you don’t try to cover up any kind of preexisting injuries or treatment for that matter. A lot of times with back injuries people may have just gone for chiropractic care. You should disclose that, you should put that down on the form.
Another thing, too, is when you’re seeing your doctor for the first time, very often the doctor is going to ask you if you have any preexisting problems or preexisting history. You should make sure that you disclose that to the doctor and the independent medical examiner. The doctor for the insurance company is also most likely going to ask you if you’ve ever injured that part of your body before, if you have any kind of preexisting treatment to that part of the body. And again, you do have to answer that question truthfully. Does it affect your claim overall? In the short term, no it doesn’t. They can’t deny you benefits because you have a preexisting injury to that part of the body, or if you had a prior injury to that part of the body. In the long term, when we’re talking about permanent injury, yes, it will have an impact because we are looking at permanent injury and disability that’s causally related to the accident. The prior injury may have some impact on it.
One thing to keep in mind, though, is that, you know your prior medical history or any of your medical history is very well-guarded. In New York state we have the HIPAA form, H-I-P-A-A. This is what it looks like, okay? And your medical records cannot be released without an authorization of this nature. And furthermore, when you’re granting this authorization, there are specific areas such as alcohol and drug treatment, mental health information and HIV related information, you have to specifically initial those areas on the form if that information is to be disclosed. All right? So, again, your medical records and your medical history is very carefully guarded in New York state. And they can only get that information with a form like this, a HIPAA form.
I’m Bill Turley and if you have questions about anything regarding workers’ compensation, you can give me a call or contact us at www.nydisabilitylaw.com. Thanks for listening.