Must you take an Uber ride to the emergency room after a workplace accident?

Options if hurt on-the-job and need emergency medical treatment under workers’ compensation.

Emergency Room

WXYZ (Detroit) is reporting that people are choosing to take Uber/Lyft instead of ambulances to the emergency room. This mirrors a national trend showing a 7% decline in ambulance use when Uber enters a city. Faster response times and lower costs have been cited as primary reasons. Medical professionals worry about this trend because ambulances are equipped to deal with medical emergencies while Uber is not.

We found this article fascinating because our clients experience something very similar. Employers send people to industrial clinics in private automobiles when the emergency room is a much better option. We even had a client who had an amputation of several fingers be refused emergency room treatment and sent to the company clinic instead. She did the right thing and stood up for herself, but it made the situation even more difficult.

Michigan workers’ compensation law requires employers to cover all medical treatment. This includes ambulances, emergency room visits, hospital stays, doctors, prescriptions, and surgery. There should never be any co-pays or deductibles that are owed by the employee. There is no maximum or time limit for treatment.

Employers are given sole authority to choose medical providers during the first 28 days. Unfortunately, most people are sent to industrial clinics where subpar medical care is provided. We have seen clients get diagnosed with sprains or strains when it is much more serious. Treatment is limited to pain medicine and physical therapy. A specialist is not consulted for weeks or sometimes months resulting in additional problems. Employees are also sent back to work prematurely.

Employees hurt on-the-job in Michigan can select their own doctor after 28 days from the start of medical care. Notice to the insurance company that a person is switching doctors is all that is required. This notice should include the name, address, and telephone number. It is up to the employee to provide updated medical bills and records.

Michigan courts have found that an employee can select a hospital before the 28 day period runs under the right circumstances. It can be argued that emergency care must be paid regardless of who chose the facility. This is true for ambulance rides as well when immediate medical care is needed. Do not fall into the trap of being forced into an Uber.

Insurance companies hate losing control of medical providers. This makes it harder to reduce costs and manipulate work restrictions. We tell our clients to anticipate being scheduled for an independent medical examination (IME) when asserting their legal rights. This is usually done to fight payment of additional medical treatment.

Employees should also watch out for nurse case managers who are assigned to their claims. These individuals are the eyes and ears of the insurance company. We hear complaints about nurse case managers forcing themselves into examination rooms, interfering with medical treatment, and trying to change work restrictions.

Michigan Workers Comp Lawyers never charges a fee to evaluate a potential case. Our law firm has represented injured and disabled workers exclusively for more than 35 years. Call (844) 201-9497 for a free consultation today.

Related information:

How insurance companies use IME doctors to abuse the workers’ comp system

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