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Choosing Your Own Doctor for Your Worker's Compensation Claim

Doctor Talking to Patient
Suffering an injury at work is upsetting and frustrating for a variety of reasons. One point of frustration is dealing with doctors chosen by your employer. In the state of Indiana, you must see the doctor chosen by your employer when you are hurt on the job if you want your employer to foot the bill.
The following are some things you need to know about your medical care decisions after an on-the-job injury.
What If You Want to See Your Own Doctor?
Some individuals are most comfortable receiving medical care from his or her own doctor. While this may be the case for you, you do not have the option to see your own doctor if you wish to use Worker's Compensation benefits through your employer. You will be responsible for your co-pays and other expenses incurred by your medical care.
If you wish to use your own doctor despite having access to free care via Worker's Compensation benefits, you may still need to visit a doctor approved by your employer. If you intend to pursue Worker's Compensation benefits for your lost wages due to absence from work, you will also have to go for another evaluation by the employer's doctor of choice.
Can You Change Your Doctor Provided by Worker's Compensation?
Once you decide to see the doctor provided through Worker's Compensation, you could decide you are not happy with the doctor and wish to see someone different within the scope of your allotted benefits.
Unfortunately, you do not have many options for this if you want to keep your Worker's Compensation benefits. If you wish to see a different doctor, you first need to speak to your human resources department to find out if other doctors are approved by your employer's Worker's Compensation insurance carrier.
There are few instances in which changing doctors is permitted. The first is any instance of emergency. If you need special emergent treatment or surgery and you are not near your doctor or he or she is not available, you can receive care from a different doctor.
Another instance is if the doctor chosen by your employer's insurance carrier states you need care and your employer will not authorize it under Worker's Compensation, then you can go to a different doctor.
There could be some other special, specific circumstances in which you can see another doctor for your care, but any changes require approval from the Worker's Compensation insurance carrier. If you think you have a compelling reason as to why you need a different doctor, speak to your personal injury attorney to discuss your circumstances.
Can You Choose to Have Additional Medical Care?
If the doctor provided by Worker's Compensation releases you from care and you still need additional treatment, you can seek additional medical treatment from the doctor of your choice.
You will have to pay your doctor, and there is no promise the Worker's Compensation insurance will reimburse you if the care was not authorized by the carrier. However, you may ask for a free second opinion for an independent medical exam.
Unfortunately, you simply cannot change doctors just because you do not prefer the care when you wish to receive Worker's Compensation benefits. Your employer is contractually obligated to offer you a certain doctor via their insurance carrier. To see if you have options to change doctors, speak to your attorney as soon as possible.
If you wish to discuss your options regarding your medical care after an injury while on the job, please contact us at Wegner & Associates. We look forward to working with you on your personal injury claim for your on-the-job injury.