One of the biggest mistakes people make when they are injured on the job is failing to go to a worker’s compensation doctor who has the knowledge and experience needed to provide the needed medical treatment and fill out the necessary documentation accurately. In some states, you are required to choose a doctor from a list supplied by the employer’s insurance carrier. If you choose to go to a doctor who is not on the list, you will not receive coverage for the medical treatment or for time you must miss at work due to the injury.
Workers Compensation is a type of insurance that is specifically for the benefit of the employee. There are differences in the ways the law works in each state. The first thing you should do when you are injured at work is to report the accident to your employer immediately and find out what the rules are for filing a worker’s comp claim and for choosing a worker’s compensation doctor. Taking a “wait-and-see” approach to reporting your injury and making an appointment to be diagnosed for injuries can result in your claim being more difficult to get paid.
When you are permitted to choose your own physician, look at the following qualities to determine which doctor is the right choice for your treatment:
• Experience treating injured workers is one of the most important qualities to consider when choosing a workers compensation doctor for two reasons. You want a physician who is an expert at treating injuries like yours and who is also qualified and willing to follow the workers compensation laws to the tee.
• Although workers compensation laws vary from state-to-state, it may not mean that you are limited to seeing those doctors whose practice is in your state. It may be worthwhile to get a better quality doctor that is a distance from your home than it is to settle for the one that is closest to you.
• Even if you have been seen by another physician for your work-related injury, a workers compensation doctor who also practices as an independent medical examiner can still perform an independent medical examination (IME) on you or provide you with a review of the ratings you have received from another physician to ensure they have been performed accurately.
• If the job of finding a doctor has been left up to you, contact your primary care physician and ask if they see workers comp patients. If not, they may be able to recommend one to you.
• Look at testimonials from previous workers compensation patients to see what they have to see. The results will tell you whether a physician is dedicated and qualified enough to handle your claim.
There are many things that can prevent you from receiving the compensation you need to survive financially while your injury heals. If a physician documents symptom without a diagnosis, is unfamiliar with writing work restrictions, or lacks the basic knowledge required to substantiate your claim that the injury probably occurred at work, you could lose your claim. Finding the right workers compensation doctor will help take you from filing to case closed.