Some doctors are just better than others.
When you get a work-related injury, you want to get your treatment from one of the good ones. But that doesn’t mean you get to choose your workers’ comp doctor.
We’ve put together this guide to walk you through the process of finding a doctor for your workers’ compensation claim.
So let’s get started!
Why You Need to See a Doctor Right Away
You should always visit a doctor after getting a work-related injury—even if the injury seems small. Without proper treatment, it could get worse. But trying to file a workers’ compensation claim after the fact can get complicated.
It’s always a good idea to see a doctor right away. If the injury is more serious than you thought, you’ll be able to report it to your employer without a problem.
Can You Choose Your Own Doctor?
Yes and no.
Every state has its own rules when it comes to which doctors can and can’t treat you for a work-related injury. Many states require you to see a doctor of your employers choosing.
But again, it depends on the state. Here’s a quick rundown of what you can expect when you file a workers’ compensation claim.
The Initial Visit
You can pick any doctor you want for your initial visit—at least, this is true in most states. Sometimes, you might end up going to the doctor before you report the injury to your employer.
Because of this, you can see your regular doctor for this visit. However, you must let them know the reason for your injury.
Let them know you were hurt at work. Doctors have to fill out certain paperwork for work-related injuries.
If your injury is serious enough, your first “doctor visit” may be in the emergency room. This is out of your control, and your workers’ compensation claim will cover the costs of this visit.
After your initial doctor’s visit, you’ll likely have to receive any further treatment from a different doctor.
There are a few reasons for this.
First of all, many states require you to work with a doctor that your employer has chosen. But aside from that, not all doctors are capable of handling workers’ compensation injuries.
The process is a bit different than normal medical treatments. In fact, many states have rules that prohibit certain doctors from treating work-related injuries. For example, some states allow registered nurse practitioners to treat these types of injuries while others don’t.
Because of this, you won’t be able to continue seeing your regular doctor (in most cases).
Can You Change Doctors?
The short answer to this question is yes.
You can change doctors if you feel the doctor your employer chose isn’t providing quality care. But that doesn’t mean you can go out and pick whatever doctor you want.
You’ll have to talk to your employer to find a doctor you both agree on.
Many employers have what’s called a medical provider network. This network consists of several different doctors your employer (and their workers’ compensation insurance provider) have approved to treat work-related injuries.
If you want to switch doctors, you may have to choose a new one from that network.
You should never switch doctors without having a conversation with your employer first. Otherwise, you can end up hurting your workers’ compensation claim. Always let your employer know first.
It’s also important to remember that there’s a limit to how many times you can switch doctors. There’s no exact number for this limit, though. It varies depending on where you live.
If for some reason, you need to change doctors more than the limit allows, you’ll have to get special approval from your employer.
Why Can’t You See Your Regular Doctor?
There are a few reasons you might not be able to see your regular doctor for your work-related injury.
First of all, you may have to visit a specific doctor of your employer’s choosing (as we’ve discussed above). Your doctor also might not have the right qualifications to handle these types of injuries in your state.
But those aren’t the only reasons you can’t see your regular doctor.
Many doctors choose not to treat people with work-related injuries. Remember, this type of treatment is more complicated than normal cases, and your regular doctor may not want to deal with the extra regulations.
If your doctor can’t treat workers’ compensation injuries, they should be able to recommend other doctors instead.
The Importance of Talking to a Lawyer
You should always talk to a lawyer when you file a workers’ compensation claim. The process can get complicated, and a lawyer can walk you through each step and handle all the paperwork for you.
Lawyers can also help you find the best doctor for your needs. If you do want to change doctors, a lawyer can help you talk to your employer and make the switch.
Don’t make the mistake of thinking you don’t need a lawyer if your injury is small.
The size of the injury doesn’t matter. Talking to a lawyer about your case should always be one of your first steps when you file a workers’ compensation claim.
Finding the Right Workers’ Comp Doctor
So do you get to choose your won workers’ comp doctor?
It depends on where you live. In most cases, you have to see a doctor that your employer has chosen. But you may be able to change doctors with the help of a lawyer.
Not sure where to find a workers’ compensation lawyer? We can help! Make sure you click here to get in touch with us today!