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Does workers' comp in New York cover physical therapy?

Physical Therapy

Workers who are involved in workplace accidents often sustain injuries that require more than a quick trip to the hospital. Serious workplace injuries can take several months to recover from and result in steep medical expenses.

If you were hurt on the job, undergoing physical therapy can help you restore mobility, speed up recovery and prevent future injuries from occurring at work. In some cases, physical therapy can serve as an alternative to surgery. It's usually necessary after surgery, however. For example, if you underwent an operation for a shoulder injury, you may need physical therapy to restore the full functionality of your shoulder.

Physical therapy is a form of medical care that involves a combination of exercise, stretching, mobilization, kinesiology and pain management. It is commonly ordered by doctors when patients sustain certain types of injuries. This often includes:

  • Knee injuries — Torn ACL, torn meniscus, broken knee cap or damaged patellar ligament.
  • Shoulder injuries — Dislocated shoulder or torn rotator cuff.
  • Back injuries — Herniated or slipped disc or spinal cord injury.
  • Soft tissue injuries — Severe muscle strains or tears, as well as injuries to tendons and ligaments.
  • Bone fractures — Loss of mobility and muscle function after a severe bone fracture.
  • Occupational arthritis — Stiffness, swelling, pain and inflammation.

Getting workers' comp coverage for physical therapy

If you were injured at work, you may be eligible for workers' compensation benefits. While workers’ compensation in New York is a “no-fault” system, you still need to prove that you suffered an injury within the scope of your employment. If you have a legitimate claim, you're entitled to compensation for all qualified current and future medical expenses, including physical therapy. However, it's important to understand the following:

  • Your primary care physician must refer you to a physical therapist.
  • Only a licensed physical therapist can treat you.
  • You may be limited on how many physical therapy visits are allowed.
  • If your claim is denied and you sign an A-9 form, then you may be responsible for physical therapy payments.

What you should know before filing a workers' compensation claim in New York

Before you file a workers' compensation claim, be sure that you have done the following:

  • Report your accident or injury to your employer in writing within 30 days of the incident. Be sure to include the time, date and location of the accident. The sooner you report the incident, the greater of a chance you'll have of pursuing a strong claim.
  • Make an appointment with your doctor for a medical evaluation. Ensure that you get documentation of your medical evaluation and injury diagnosis.

Once you have completed those steps, you may file a workers’ compensation claim with the New York Workers’ Compensation Board by filling out a C-3 form. There can be no mistakes on this form or during the filing process. Any errors in your claim can lead to your benefits being denied or delayed. Let an experienced New York workers’ compensation lawyer help.

An experienced attorney at Pasternack Tilker Ziegler Walsh Stanton & Romano LLP Attorneys At Law can sit down with you and go over your legal options. Our attorneys serve injured workers in a wide range of occupations. Our law offices are conveniently located in NYC and New York State. Contact us online or call us to get started.

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