Workers’ compensation laws may vary from state to state. But in almost all cases, the law requires the employer or insurance carrier to pay for all necessary medical treatments. And yes, this includes rehabilitation treatments like physical therapy.
Many types of work-related injuries require physical therapy. Unfortunately, it’s not uncommon for employers to deny injured employees the physical therapy they need. This, in turn, may not only delay your recovery but also compromise your health.
If you want to know more about your rights to physical therapy as an injured worker, here’s a quick guide to workers comp physical therapy.
Physical Therapy in Workers Compensation
When we think of physical therapy, the first thing that comes to mind is the more intensive type usually reserved for paralyzed patients. But physical therapy is applicable in a wide variety of injuries.
Doctors usually recommend physical therapy for injuries that make it hard to do everyday tasks. This ranges from minor injuries like tennis elbow and rotator cuff tears to more serious ones like amputations and spinal traumas. Though it’s typically recommended for musculoskeletal injuries such as bone fractures, carpal tunnel syndrome, and rheumatoid arthritis, among others.
In most workers comp cases, physical therapies are recommended as part of the injured worker’s rehabilitation treatment. It’s primary purpose is to decrease your pain and strengthen your body so you can get back to work as soon as possible.
As mentioned, the cost of your physical therapy is part of your workers comp rehabilitation benefits. If your treating doctor deems you need one, your employer or insurance carrier will have to pay for it.
However, many states require that workers comp physical therapy sessions must be conducted by a licensed therapist accredited by your insurance company. This means you can’t just choose any physical therapist you want. Otherwise, the insurance company can deny your benefits.
How Workers Comp Rehabilitation Benefits Work
As I’ve said, physical therapy in workers comp is part of your rehabilitation benefits. So if you got approved for workers comp and your doctor authorizes physical therapy as part of your treatment plan, then you are eligible for physical therapy benefits.
The first thing you need to do when filing a workers comp claim is to report your injury to your employer. In Florida, you only have 30 days to inform your employer about your injury. You employer, in turn, has 7 days to report it to your insurance carrier. Otherwise, your claim can get denied.
Once the insurance carrier approves your claim, they will provide you a list of accredited medical professionals for you to choose from. Once you’ve chosen a doctor accredited by your insurance provider, they will assess your condition to formulate a treatment plan. If after all the medications, you still have a hard time doing certain tasks, they may recommend that you go through a rehabilitation treatment.
Your physical therapist will coordinate with your doctor to assess the type of rehabilitation therapy you’ll need. Because work-related injuries vary in type and severity, these rehabilitation programs vary from one injured worker to another. But in most cases, it will involve multiple sessions spanning a period of a few weeks to several months.
How Long Will Workers Comp Pay for Physical Therapy?
In general, workers comp will cover your physical therapy expenses until you’ve reached maximum medical improvement (MMI) or the point where your condition cannot be improved any further. After which, you will either have to pay for the entire cost of the therapy yourself or co-pay with your insurance provider.
In Florida, you will have to pay $10 per visit for any medical treatments after MMI. So, for instance, if your doctor declares that you’ve already reached MMI yesterday and you have a physical therapy session today, you will have to pay $10 for it and any sessions thereafter.
What to Do If Your Employer Refuses to Pay for Physical Therapy
As I’ve said, it’s not uncommon for employers and insurance companies to deny physical therapy to an injured worker. Some doctors may even deliberately omit it from your treatment plan.
If your employer is refusing to pay for your physical ther, the most practical thing to do is hire an experienced workers compensation like Victor Malca. He has already helped thousands of injured workers in Florida. He can help you get the benefits you rightfully deserve too. Contact us now for a free consultation.
VICTOR MALCA – Florida Workers Compensation & Social Security Disability Attorney
Victor Malca P.A. has over 27 years of litigation experience in Workers Compensation and Social Security Disability lawsuits. His experience and continued success when fighting for his clients puts him among the most trusted workers’ compensation attorney’s in Florida. He specializes in representing injured workers on compensation benefit cases and disabled individuals claiming lost social security disability benefits.
Book a free consultation today. Our unwavering advocacy for employee rights and privileges are recognized by our past clients across South Florida.
About The Author
Judy Ponio is a writer and editor for the Victor Malca Law P.A. website and blog. She enjoys helping people in need with questions about social security disability and workers compensation law. She has a passion for helping those in need and the elderly with accurate legal information that can make a positive difference in their lives.