Choosing A Treating Workers Comp Doctor
Your ability to choose your own doctor for treatment related to a work-related injury covered by workers’ compensation depends on the state where your claim is filed. . Rules also vary for whether you can choose a doctor for the initial treatment visit as compared to continuing treatment for your industrially related condition.
Keep in mind that your regular physician may or may not treat injured workers. Rules for treating injured workers — and receiving payment for the treatment — are complicated and different from most regular health insurance billing systems.
If you are injured on the job and making a workers’ comp claim, you must be medically evaluated and treated by doctors who are approved by your employer’s insurance company. Virtually all state regulations permit you to be treated by your own doctor, but your claim is highly dependent on the medical opinion of the doctor(s) you choose from the insurance company’s approved list.
Typically, if an injured employee has an objection to the physician, facility, or treatment received, or if he or she would like a second opinion, a request must go through the assigned claim adjuster. It is wise to have a copy of specific state laws, and to understand their intent regarding each aspect of the workers’ compensation process. Some state laws allow the injured employee to be treated by his or her own physician after a specified period of time, and some state laws grant the right to second opinions.
In the aftermath of a work injury, it is common for injured workers to receive misleading information about their rights. This often comes from employers and their workers’ compensation insurance company. You have likely been told that you have to see a doctor that your boss or the insurance company approves of. In many states, this is simply not true.