Workers’ Comp Injury? Find Out If Can You Choose Your Own Doctor
Accidents at work happen far more frequently than we like to believe. With over five million accidents happening in the workplace a year, there’s always a chance that you or someone you love might be hurt on the job.
These injuries can vary in severity. Some can be a mere bruise or a scratch, but others can be quite serious and even life-changing. It’s important that you understand how the worker’s compensation system works so you know how to act in the event of an incident.
Many people don’t understand how the system works. Can you choose workers compensation doctors, or are they assigned to you? Read on and we’ll walk you through what you need to know.
Laws From State to State
Worker’s compensation laws actually vary significantly from state to state. So depending on where you live, your situation might differ. Some states require that an individual see a doctor that is chosen by the employer and by the employer’s insurance company.
Other states don’t have this requirement and allow injured employees to visit any doctor that is in-network with the employer’s insurance company.
Rules regulating workplace injuries are quite complicated and don’t always work the same way as other healthcare claims. Your normal physician might not even accept people with workplace injuries.
What Doctor Can You Visit?
In almost all states, your initial visit to a doctor can be with any physician. It does not need to be with an employer’s recommended doctor. During these visits, however, you do need to let a doctor know that your injury occurred at work.
A doctor may need to fill out different paperwork in this event, so it’s important that you notify them during your visit.
For your follow-up visits and actual treatment, however, you may need to go to a specific doctor picked out by your employer. This workers comp doctor will be certified by the state to take care of such cases. Your employer and an insurance company will feel more comfortable with you visiting a doctor they know and respect.
Switching From Doctor to Doctor
What if you don’t like the doctor that you’ve been assigned? It wouldn’t be the first time this has happened. Many people worry their employer’s doctor cares more about saving the insurer money than giving proper treatment.
Rules for switching doctors also vary on a state by state basis. Some states allow you to switch to any other doctor ‘in the network,’ but only allow these transitions a limited number of times.
Other states won’t allow you to switch unless you’ve spent a certain amount of time with the initial doctor. In Pennsylvania, for example, you have to wait ninety days before you are legally allowed to switch treatment locations.
Understanding Workers Compensation Doctors
The rules surrounding medical care and workers compensation can be complicated. When it comes to choosing workers compensation doctors, the state you reside in can have a big impact on your freedom of choice.Need more workplace advice, tips, or tricks? Check out our blog for more.
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