89% of Americans believe it’s important to have a relationship with a doctor who knows your health background, family history, and medical history. When you’re injured in a workers’ comp case, having a trusting relationship with your doctor is especially important.
But what happens if your employer tries to decide which doctor you can see? Keep reading to learn more about whether your employer can choose your doctor after an injury on the job.
In Louisiana, you have the freedom to choose your own doctor or treatment after a workers’ comp injury.
You can also change providers between specialties of care without getting approval from your employer or their insurance company. If you want to switch providers within the same field of specialty, you will need permission from your employer and their insurance company. Reasons for changing doctors might include receiving inadequate treatment, an ineffective or unconventional treatment plan, or lack of a treatment plan at all.
You can choose any doctor you want to treat you. However, your doctor will need to get approval from your employer and their insurance company to continue treating you if your care costs more than $750.
The exception to this rule is if the care is provided in an emergency setting and getting approval is not feasible for the timeframe. Employers cannot deny your request for treatment exceeding this amount for no reason or without a good reason.
While you can receive treatment from any doctor you want, you may be required to be examined by a doctor chosen by your employer. If you refuse to submit to this examination (as long as it is reasonable), your benefits may be suspended until you complete the examination.
Working With Your Doctor
It’s important to have a good relationship with the doctor who is treating you after a workers’ compensation injury. Not only will your doctor be taking care of your physical and mental health, but their opinion will carry great weight for your legal case.
Even if you are seeing a physician chosen by the insurance company, maintaining a good relationship is important for your case. Your doctor’s opinion about the cause of your injury and the necessity of treatment can make or break your legal claim.
Here are some things you can do to get the most out of your relationship with your treating physician:
Explain the Nature of Your Injury
It’s critical to your case that you explain the facts of your accident to your doctor at your first visit. This is because insurance companies can use your medical records against you if there is no mention of how your injury occurred.
Explain to your doctor where you were when your injury occurred and what happened. This ensures your medical record will reflect that the injury occurred on the job.
It’s also important to mention every part of your body that was injured. While you might think you should focus on the area that hurts the most, failing to mention other injuries can hurt your case if they aren’t mentioned in your medical records.
Discuss Your Work Restrictions
Be sure to discuss how your injury affects your ability to work.
Your employer’s insurance company will have an opinion about your ability to work, so it’s always good to present your side of the story to your doctor as soon as possible. Before you leave, ask your doctor for a slip you can provide your employer that states you can’t return to work or can only do so with certain restrictions.
Avoid Discussing Your Claim
Your doctor is there to treat your medical condition. Doctors generally don’t want to get caught up in legal problems. This means your doctor doesn’t need to know about your workers’ comp case.
What you discuss with your doctor is not confidential, so it’s best to avoid discussing your legal issues at all and focus on your injury.
Be Honest but Careful
Unlike with your workers’ compensation lawyer, there is no such thing as doctor-patient privilege in workers’ comp cases.
This means that your medical records are fair game for the insurance adjuster and defense attorney for your employer. You have to remember that anything you tell your doctor can be shared with other parties. Always be honest with your physician, but never make any incrimination statements.
Don’t argue with your doctor or go on about medical conditions that aren’t related to your work injury. Anything you say can be used against you.
When Doctors Disagree
It’s not uncommon for your doctor and the doctor chosen by your insurance company to disagree about your medical condition. If this happens, you may have to complete an independent medical examination (IME).
The doctor performing this exam will have no affiliation with your employer or their insurance company.
When doctors disagree, your case can slow to a halt. If you find yourself in this situation, you need an attorney.
What if My Employer Won’t Pay My Claim?
Unfortunately, insurance companies for employers are notorious for refusing to pay legitimate claims. The workers’ comp system is designed to slow down the payment of benefits to injured workers. If your case is held up by red tape or your employer is refusing to pay your claim, you need to speak to a workers’ comp attorney as soon as possible.
Workers’ comp cases are complicated and missing a deadline can affect your ability to recover damages. If your claim is denied, you have the right to appeal.
Navigating the appeals process on your own isn’t a good idea. Working with an experienced attorney can ensure you get the compensation you are entitled to under Louisiana law.
Do You Have a Workers’ Comp Case?
If you have a workers’ comp case and your employer’s insurance company isn’t playing fair, you need an experienced workers’ comp attorney on your side.
If your employer is trying to dictate what doctors you can see, know that you have rights. We are here to help you fight and get the medical treatment you need.
Click here to schedule your free case evaluation today to learn more about how we can help you get the care you need and the compensation you deserve.