Can I Choose My Own Doctor if I Am Injured at Work?
Workers’ compensation insurance covers most workers in Wisconsin for workplace injuries. As an injured employee, you have several rights, among them the right to choose your own treating physician.
The selection of a work injury doctor can sometimes be an area of contention. This is especially the case if your employer or the insurance company requests that you undergo an independent medical examination that may bring up different results from what your doctor submits.
Learn more about selecting a treating physician if you have a workers’ compensation claim.
Right to Choose a Doctor
The workers’ compensation system recognizes that an injured person might achieve better treatment outcomes if he or she trusts the treating physician. As such, the laws in Wisconsin require employers to allow a worker who received an injury at work and requires medical treatment to select their own doctor.
In case of an emergency, your employer might bring you to his or her own or any other doctor to ensure that you receive immediate treatment. After the emergency visit, you can opt to continue with the current doctor or choose your own doctor without fear of retaliation from your employer.
The doctor can be a physician, podiatrist, chiropractor, or psychologist licensed to work in the state. Your employer or insurance company may refuse to pay your medical bill if the doctor you choose is not qualified to offer treatment for your type of injury or illness.
The doctor you choose should be able to accept patients with work-related injuries. This is because the process of compensating a doctor for the treatment of such illnesses or injuries can be different and complex. Be sure to let your doctor know that your illness or injury is work-related.
If your primary care doctor cannot treat work-related injuries, he or she might recommend another physician who can. Alternatively, speak to a reputable workers’ compensation lawyer who can recommend physicians who take in patients with work-related injuries or illnesses similar to yours.
To eliminate the possibility of dispute and refusal by the insurer to pay your treatment, be sure to inform your employer of your choice of doctor.
Right to Change Doctors
You have a right to change your doctor, and your employer may not object to your second choice. You can change your doctor for any number of reasons including dissatisfaction with your initial doctor. To avoid disputes with your workers’ compensation claim, inform your employer of your decision to change physicians.
You may also change your second doctor for another one if you are still dissatisfied with the care you are receiving. However, before making this second change, you must first consult your employer and/or the insurance company.
Additionally, ensure that your new doctor completes the necessary documentation indicating the change of doctors. This will help to eliminate potential disputes with your workers’ compensation claim.
Obligation to Submit to an Independent Doctor
Although you have a right to choose your own doctor, your employer or the insurance company may request that you undergo an independent medical examination by a local doctor.
As soon as you receive a written notice to submit to an independent medical examination, you must visit the doctor your employer or the insurer has directed you to. Failure to submit to the medical examination can cause the insurer to deny your claim.
The workers’ compensation system seeks to protect employees’ right to treatment and compensation in case of workplace injuries or illness. A skilled workers’ compensation lawyer can help you receive the medical treatment you deserve.
At Stafford Neal & Soule, S.C., we understand the process of dealing with your employer and the insurance company can be fraught with disputes. You do not have to go at it alone. Call us today for a free consultation to discuss your case.