Whenever you have an ongoing workers’ compensation claim, one of the most important things you need to decide is which doctor will handle your treatment.
Your doctor makes several important decisions throughout the course of your claim.
For example, your doctor will recommend treatment moving forward and will meet with representatives of your employer to discuss your return to work.
Perhaps the most important, however, is that they will ultimately decide when you are ready to return to work while also deciding which restrictions to place on you if there are any.
Your employer will often direct you to their doctor at the beginning of your claim and trick you into selecting this doctor to treat you for the duration of your claim.
Employers send you to certain doctors for several reasons: Some will allow your employer to dictate which treatment is necessary while not fully advocating for what is best for you.
Below are some scenarios that may arise throughout the duration of your claim and possible solutions for how you should handle them.
I was involved in an accident and my employer is telling me I have to see their doctor. What should I do?
One of the most important aspects of the Workers’ Compensation Act is that the employee always has the right to select any doctor he or she wishes.
In other words, you don’t have to select the doctor your employer recommends if you don’t want to.
If your employer is forcing you to see its doctor, it is important you communicate your wish to see your own doctor.
I already saw my employer’s doctor. Am I stuck with this doctor for the remainder of my claim?
If your employer directed you to a doctor and you’re already seeing that doctor, you still may be able to switch to another doctor to take over your treatment.
For example, if you did not sign a form indicating you wish for your employer’s doctor to be considered your choice, then that doctor is NOT your primary choice.
And you do not have to continue seeing them.
If, however, you did sign a form indicating you wish to see your employer’s doctor, you may be unable to change physicians.
This is why it’s important to make sure you make the right choice at the beginning of your claim.
I’ve already selected my doctor and the employer still wants me to see their doctor. Do I have to go?
While you do have the right to select your own treating physician, your employer still has a right to have you examined by a doctor of their choosing as often as you desire.
If you refuse to be examined by your employer’s doctor, you may forfeit your rights to workers’ compensation benefits.
I’ve been examined by my doctor but my employer also had me examined by its choice of physician. My employer is now trying to have me examined by a third doctor.
Generally speaking, your employer cannot have you examined by more than one physician in a particular field or specialty.
If your employer’s doctor issues an opinion more favorable to you, your employer cannot have you examined by a third doctor in order to obtain a more favorable opinion.
But there are a few exceptions to this rule.
If a dispute develops between your doctor and your employer’s doctor regarding your condition or your ability to return to work, then your employer can apply for the State to appoint a third independent doctor to examine you.
Many times, the State will grant the employer’s request even though the facts do not support the appointment, so it’s important to make sure your employer does not request a third examination if they’re not entitled to one.
In sum, workers’ compensation claims can be lengthy, and getting medical treatment delivered in a timely and efficient manner can be a hassle.
For this reason, it’s important to make sure you are prepared to fight for your rights as an employee and make sure your employer doesn’t dictate your medical treatment.
Be sure to contact the attorneys at Workers’ Compensation, LLC to prevent this.
Our attorneys will make sure your employer does not take advantage of you, so you can get the maximum amount of compensation you are owed.