Can I Still See My Own Doctor After Filing For Workers' Compensation?
There is no yes or no answer to that question. Each state has its own set of complicated rules for when you can see your own doctor for a work-related injury covered by workers’ compensation insurance. Generally, but with some exceptions, your employer’s insurance company determines which doctors you see when you have filed a workers’ comp claim.
Workers’ compensation can be confusing, and the rules vary from state to state, but our friendly agency is happy to assist you in any way we can.
What About Emergency Medical Treatment?
In most states, you can receive emergency medical treatment or go to any doctor your choose for your initial visit after a workplace injury. Emergency room visits are covered under workers’ compensation. Be sure to tell your healthcare provider that you were injured at work so that the doctor is aware you have a workers’ compensation claim. The doctor will likely be required to provide documentation regarding your injuries.
What Doctors Can Provide Ongoing Medical Treatment?
Most states have regulations concerning which types of healthcare providers can treat injured workers under workers’ compensation. In some states, your treating or attending physician must be an M.D., D.O. physician’s assistant, registered nurse practitioner, or oral surgeon.
Other states may allow you to seek ongoing treatment from other types of providers, such as naturopaths, physical therapists, massage therapists, or chiropractors, although they may limit the number of visits workers’ comp covers. If your injury requires a specialist such as an orthopedic surgeon, your treating or attending physician will refer you to a specialist authorized to treat injured workers under the workers’ compensation system.
Workers’ Comp Physician Networks
Many states have some type of network for physicians authorized to treat injured workers. In order to be allowed in network, a doctor must demonstrate certain competencies regarding workers’ compensation claims. Admission to the network is typically governed by criteria established by the state. However, in some states, employers may create their own network of doctors and require injured workers to be treated within that network.
Get Help from Your Primary Care Doctor
If you need treatment for a workers’ compensation injury, consider talking to your primary care physician first. Your doctor will advise you if he or she can treat you for a work-related injury, and if not, may be able to refer you to a medical professional who meets the criteria. It is important to remember that your treating physician must be authorized by law to treat you for an on-the-job injury. Otherwise, your medical bills may not be covered and your medical records may not be acceptable as evidence in the future, should the need arise.
What Role Does Your Treating Physician Play in Your Workers’ Comp Claim?
Your treating or attending physician plays a very important role in your workers’ compensation claim. This doctor is responsible for your treatment and able to authorize time off work. Your treating physician also determines your level of disability and work restrictions in the future.