When an employee is injured at work, they are entitled to evidence-based, medically sound care. However, a number of companies intentionally misinform their employees regarding their rights and options after suffering an on-the-job injury.
Rather than telling workers that they can choose from a panel of physicians, they may pressure employees to agree to a doctor chosen by the company. This puts a lot of power in the hands of the insurance company. It potentially lets them choose a doctor who may be unwilling to identify the true cause of an injury, take an employee off of work when necessary, or recommend the proper treatments.
If you?ve been injured at work in Virginia, the ability to choose an acceptable medical care provider will be critical to getting what?s right. A workers? compensation attorney can help you with finding an appropriate panel physician.
Navigate the Process with an Experienced Workers? Compensation Attorney
If this is your first experience with a workplace injury, you may not know what to expect. At this stage, you may still be expecting your employer and their insurance provider to do the right thing, pay for your care, and keep you away from work for as long as it takes to achieve a full recovery.
As you pursue workers? compensation, you may come across unexpected difficulties. In addition to forcing you to choose their approved doctor, your employer or their insurance carrier could encourage you to drop your claim before you?ve fully healed, resist attempts to collect payment, or try to prove that your injury did not occur at work.
Hiring a workers? compensation attorney helps you avoid these hurdles and move through the workers? comp process with minimal stress. Your attorney can ensure that your rights are protected, help you choose the right physician for your needs, and prevent your employer from placing undue pressure on you. As a result, you?ll be able to focus on recovering properly, getting the care you deserve, and returning to work when you are physically ready.
What Is a Workers? Comp Panel of Physicians?
Virginia law explains a workers? rights when they are injured in the workplace. Under Virginia law, an employer must allow an injured worker to choose from a panel of three or more physicians. The employee can then choose the doctor they feel most comfortable with for their work injury-related care.
Some employers try to shortchange their employees while creating a list of panel physicians. A valid panel of physicians must have at least three independent doctors. This means that the doctors on the list cannot come from the same practice.
If there aren?t at least three independent doctors, the list is defective and the injured employee can ask for a new panel.
The doctors listed on the panel must meet several qualifications, including:
- Be from independent practices
- Be capable of treating the injuries suffered by the worker
- Be within 50 miles
Can You Choose Your Own Doctor for Workers? Comp?
To some extent, you can choose your own doctor from a list of company doctors.
Legally, you must have at least three options of workers? comp doctors to choose from. Based on this list, you can decide which is best equipped to treat your injury and who will be most helpful to you.
How to Evaluate a List of Panel Physicians
Finding the right doctor can change the trajectory of your workers? compensation case and your path to recovery. When you choose attorney Cerid Lugar for your workers? comp case, we will help you evaluate your options and decide which doctor is right for you.
There are several factors to consider when evaluating a doctor panel list:
- Willingness to work with your attorney. Ideally, your doctor and your attorney will communicate freely about your workers? compensation case, your progress, and your work limitations. Some doctors are averse to working with attorneys, which means that you could face an uphill battle as you heal. Consider selecting a doctor who is open to speaking with your lawyer on a regular basis.
- Specialty and ability to treat your injuries. One of the most important factors while choosing a doctor is their skill level. Doctors on a panel of physicians do not all have to come from the same specialty; they simply have to be in a specialty that would allow them to treat your injury. You can look into each doctor?s practice and figure out if their expertise best fits your injury. Additionally, you should look into each doctor?s reviews. This should give you an overview of how well they may be able to treat you and what type of bedside manner they have.
- Beliefs regarding causation and work limitations. Each doctor has their own philosophies and protocols regarding workplace injuries. Some are unlikely to specify that an injury was caused by a workplace situation or incident, while others tend to give employees the benefit of the doubt. Thanks to our experience with workers? compensation law, we can help you select a physician who respects your situation and the fact that returning to work too early could be detrimental to your health.
Lugar Law Can Help with Your Workers? Comp Case
As an injured worker, you deserve an aggressive advocate who is dedicated to getting you the compensation you are owed. You will undoubtedly have question about which physician to choose, and who is best suited to treat your workplace injury. That?s where the team at Lugar Law comes in. If your employer or their insurance company is pressuring you to see a doctor of their choosing, or you simply want to explore all your options when it comes to your medical care, reach out to a lawyer who can answer your questions and help you move through the workers? compensation process as smoothly as possible.