Your Workers' Comp Doctor: What To Know

If you've been hurt while at work, your employer has you covered. In almost every instance, the place where you work has taken a workers' comp insurance policy out on its workers. This coverage should not cost you a thing, the cost is borne by your employer. You will likely have your medical expenses covered, and you can even take some time to stay home and get better while you receive a certain portion (usually around 70%) of your usual salary. One of the first things you must do when you do get injured is to get medical treatment, so read on to learn more about this and about your workers' comp doctor.

State based boards

In reading this information, you should realize that workers' comp is not a federal program, like Social Security, where the rules are the same no matter where you live in the United States. Each state is responsible for running its own workers compensation plan, so the exact rules and regulations will vary. To learn more about how things go in your state, take a look at the website for your own state's workers' comp board. Your state could take at least three ways to handle choosing a workers' comp doctor: you must use a company doctor, you can choose your own doctor or you choose a doctor at the time you are hired.

The company doctor

When the workers' comp carrier or your employer chooses your doctor, that is sometimes known as a company doctor. One thing to know about this situation is that it may not be in your best interest to go along with this choice. It may be difficult for this doctor to remain unbiased since they are actually working for the carrier. That being said, your company-chosen doctor may be an excellent physician and provide you with more than adequate care for your work-related injury. You should stay alert to certain issues and take action if:

  1. The company doctor wants you to return to work and you are still in pain from your injury.
  2. The company doctor is denying you a needed surgery.
  3. You feel that you are getting substandard care from this doctor.

In most cases, you have the right to request a different doctor, but be aware that there may be restrictions on how many times you can do so. Be sure to know exactly what you need to do to request a new doctor and follow the guidelines, since a mistake could mean that you end up paying for care out of your own pocket and having to return to work while still hurt.

Choosing your own doctor

If you are fortunate enough to make your own choice, look for the those that:

  • have experience and skills with your type of injury
  • are familiar with workers' comp insurance claims and will accept the fees from workers' comp

If you encounter problems with any area of your claim, speak to a workers' comp attorney