If you're injured while on the job, your employer may encourage you to seek medical attention from one of their company doctors. But is this really in your best interest, and can your employer force you to take this route? The following sheds some interesting light on this crucial issue.
It Depends on Your State's Guidelines
The question of whether you can choose your own doctor or go with one recommended by your employer is a bit complicated to answer definitively. The answer tends to vary due to differing statutes adopted in each state. Many states allow you to choose your own doctor, while others require you to be seen by one chosen by either the employer or the carrier handling your employer's worker's compensation insurance policy.
In Pennsylvania, for instance, you can have your work injury treated by your own health care provider unless your employer accepts your worker's compensation claim. If your employer has a list of six or more health care providers or physicians posted within your workplace, then you'll have to visit one of those providers for initial treatment and continue treatment with that provider for the next 90 days. After that 90-day period, however, you can use the provider of your choice as long as you notify your employer in advance.
You Can Change Doctors If You're Not Satisfied
You may not be allowed to choose your doctor initially, but it is possible to get a second opinion from another physician if you're not happy with how the current doctor is handling your work-related injury. It's a good idea to speak to your attorney and consult your state's worker's compensation laws to see how you can gain a second opinion from your own doctor.
Although it might not be in your best interests to see a company doctor, it often makes perfect sense to an employer. In many cases, a company doctor may work more towards the best interests of the company then your health and well-being. It's not uncommon for a company doctor's examination to result in lowered medical and disability benefits - something that most likely would not happen had you seen your own doctor in the first place.
It's easy to feel pressured into thinking that your employer's options are the only options available to you. By knowing your rights and understanding the worker's compensation claim process, it becomes easier to resist this pressure and make the best decision that works for you.
Contact a legal office like Hoffman, Hamer & Associates, PLLC to learn more.