What should I ask my doctor? How do I remember what my doctor told me? How do I tell the railroad what my doctor said?
Every week I get similar questions relating to the three-way conversation among your doctor, the railroad and you. It is a critical conversation that can have effects not just on the value of your case, but also on whether you have a case at all. To help with that conversation, and particularly because it is an area so foreign to most railroaders, I am making this form available for your download and use.
The hope is that it will become an outline for your conversation and a place for your doctor to record his or her responses to your questions within the context of your ongoing treatment. Once your doctor signs it, you can provide a copy of it to your carrier to keep them updated on your progress.
Diagnosis, causation and restrictions are primary considerations in any potential FELA case. But most people fumble when it comes to having the conversation with their doctor because they don’t know how to ask the right questions or what the answers mean. This form provides all of the relevant information in one place.
In fact, the form is best presented along with a copy of your job description. That way the doctor understands what you do before declaring whether you can return to work full duty. The doctor also realizes there are degrees of readiness for returning to work. The idea is to make sure you are truly ready for the harsh railroad environment before you return. Returning to work too early is just as ill-advised as settling your claim too early.
If you've been ordered to have a defense medical examination, that's something different. Also known as a DME, it’s a physical exam conducted of you, the plaintiff and injured railroad worker, by a doctor of the railroad's choosing for the purpose of helping the railroad defend against your claim. Click here for a walk through of what one looks like.
Use this form to clarify your medical conditions and limitations with your doctor and carrier. And feel free to ask any questions of me free of cost or obligation.