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Does workers' comp cover chiropractic treatment?

San Diego workers' compensation attorney

Spinal injuries are very common after workplace accidents. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, back injuries account for nearly 40 percent of workplace injuries across all industries. They tend to be higher among:

  • Nursing assistants — 52.8%
  • Stock clerks and order fillers — 45.7%
  • Maintenance and repair workers — 42.5%
  • Laborers/freight, stock and material movers — 43%

An injury to the spine can cause a great deal of back pain, as well as other musculoskeletal pain and discomfort.

Workplace accident that can cause spinal injuries include:

  • Slips, trips and falls
  • Caught-in/between accidents involving objects and equipment
  • Repetitive lifting, bending and twisting
  • Heavy lifting
  • Transportation incidents
  • Prolonged sitting with poor posture

Spinal injuries can also happen independently or alongside another injury. For example, a workplace accident could result in a slipped disc or damage to the vertebrae. In other cases, spinal misalignment can occur while someone is recovering from another injury, such as a broken bone. This happens when the spine is out of alignment while the healing occurs, resulting in prolonged pain, discomfort and muscle spasms in the impacted area.

Should I consider seeing a chiropractor after a workplace accident?

You should always first consult with your physician after sustaining a workplace injury. Through a medical evaluation, your doctor may determine what types of injuries you sustained. For example, you may have sustained a concussion, broken bones, soft tissue injuries or a spinal injury. Please note: a chiropractor can't treat all of these injuries.

You may want to consider seeing a chiropractor if you are experiencing back pain, neck pain, headaches, prolonged muscle spasms, tingling or burning in the limbs. If your primary care physician happens to be a licensed chiropractor, he or she can provide treatment. Otherwise, your doctor can refer you to a licensed chiropractor.

A chiropractor may help alleviate the pain and discomfort by re-aligning the vertebrae and discs in the spine.

Who pays for chiropractic treatment after a workplace injury?

If you were referred to a chiropractor by your primary care physician, your chiropractic treatment can be covered by workers' compensation under California's Labor Code Article 2, Section 4600.

There is a cap on how many chiropractic visits are covered by workers' compensation. Under subdivision (C) of Section 4604.5, you are not entitled to any more than 24 chiropractic visits. After that, a chiropractor cannot be designated as a treating physician.

Why should I hire a workers' compensation attorney?

Filing a workers' compensation claim can be a complex and overwhelming task. Insurance companies won't readily pay for your medical costs or wage reimbursement. In fact, they may be more likely to look for excuses to deny your claim.

Insurance companies can be biased against chiropractic treatment or other holistic treatments. They may argue that because you're not being treated by an orthopedic doctor or a physician, your chiropractic treatment isn't viable enough to be considered for compensation.

What's important is that you get the appropriate medical care to recover from your injuries. That's why it's important that you speak to an experienced San Diego workers' compensation attorney who can advocate for you and maximize your chances of getting benefits.

If you were hurt on the job, contact the Law Office of Robert A. McLaughlin and schedule your free case review.

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