Can I Pick My Doctor For a Workers Comp Injury?
Whether or not you can pick your own workers comp doctors depends on the state law where you live and on your employers policy. Generally, you do get to have some say over who is examining you and who is treating your injuries, but you may not get to necessarily use your existing doctor or pick any doctor you want.
Understanding Workers Comp Doctors
Workers comp doctors play a very important role in the worker's compensation process. Workers comp doctors:
- Examine you to determine what the cause of your injury or injuries are
- Determine the extent and nature of those injuries, sometimes (depending on the state law) listing an impairment rating that will be used to determine what recovery you can get from the workers compensation insurers
- Treat those injuries
As such, you may wish to go to a doctor you are comfortable with. However, when worker's compensation was established and passed into law by the states, some states choose to include a provision that permits employers to choose the physicians their employees use. This means that, if the law allows this and your employee elects to do this, you may be required to go to a doctor from a list that your employer provides.
Failure to go to the doctor that your employer mandates can result in your medical bills not being covered (either fully or partially) or even in your claim being denied entirely. This means it is essential to understand whether your employers workers comp policy requires this or not, so you can be prepared in the event of an injury.
The employer, of course, cannot just choose any doctor and the doctor was to be qualified. Most laws mandate that the doctor be reasonably competent, as compared to the average doctor. In addition, in most cases, you may be permitted to request a change of physician if you do not like the doctor to which you have been assigned. You may be limited to requesting only one change, so it is important you understand the rules of your individual employer's workers comp policy so you know what to expect.
If you believe that your employer is making unfair demands in regards to who provides your medical care or if you believe that the doctor you are required to go to is not competent to perform your treatment, consult with an experienced worker's compensation attorney as soon as possible. Your attorney will assist you in taking steps to ensure that your medical needs are provided for while still protecting your legal needs.