Can I Choose My Own Doctor in a Workers’ Comp Claim?
If you?ve never been hurt on the job in Virginia, you may be unfamiliar with the workers’ compensation process, including the rules concerning choosing a doctor. Some states have workers’ comp laws that allow an employer to choose what doctor is seen after a workplace accident, but Virginia is not one of them.
While an employer doesn?t get to force you to go to its selected medical provider, there are some rules regarding what doctor you see after an on-the-job injury or occupational illness. Failure to follow all the required procedures and process of the workers’ compensation system could undermine your claim and leave you holding the bag on thousands of dollars in medical bills. The experienced Roanoke workers’ compensation attorneys at Lugar Law, PC, can help you navigate this complex system so that you receive the compensation you?re entitled to.
Choosing Your Workers’ Compensation Doctor
Who you choose as a doctor is an important decision. Your treating physician not only will provide your care so you can recover from the accident, but medical opinions and reports are used as evidence in workers’ comp proceedings. Doctors play an important part in determining benefits such as temporary total disability or permanent partial disability. They also will be asked to determine if you can return to work and when you have reached maximum medical improvement.
Under Virginia law, your employer can?t force you to a certain treating physician. But the choice of medical care isn?t totally up to you. While in an emergency situation you may have used your doctor or an ER provider, after that initial visit the law requires your employer to give you a list of three independent doctors (a panel) to choose from for your ongoing care.
If you aren?t given a list in a timely manner, or if your claim is denied, you may be able to choose your own doctor. Our skilled workers’ comp attorneys can help you find the doctor that can opine about the cause of your injuries, possible disability from them, and help you receive your full benefits. Don?t go rogue by deciding you?ll do it your way and see the doctor you want to. Doing that could mean you incur medical bills that might not be reimbursed.
Keep in mind, too, an experienced workers’ comp attorney like those at Lugar Law will also know if the doctors panel presented to you meets legal requirements. To be ?independent,? as required by law, the doctors on the list can?t be affiliated with or part of the same practice. Should you be presented with a list that doesn?t have three independent doctors, it is defective. By allowing us to handle your claim, we can be certain the panel is valid, and if not, demand a new panel be presented. Failure of your employer or its insurer to do so could mean that you can pick your own doctor.
Once you have a treating physician for your workplace injury, understand that under state law that doctor will control all your treatment. That means your doctor has final say in treatments, therapies, and providers. If your employer?s insurer tries to tell you that you are required to use only providers in their network, that is untrue.
We Can Help Choose Your Worker?s Comp Doctor
The choice of your treating physician for a workers’ comp claim is an important decision. Lugar Injury Law can help. Because of our many years of experience with workers’ comp cases we know which doctors are not only skilled in treating workplace injuries and occupational illnesses but also understanding and sympathetic about the plight of injured workers. To maximize your benefits, you need a doctor who cares and is cooperative with the workers’ comp process. So, while you can choose your own doctor from a panel list, you need guidance and that?s what we?re here for.