Employees who have been injured in the workplace do not always have the right to choose their medical doctors. In many cases, you have to be seen by a medical doctor approved by your employer if you are planning to pursue workers compensation benefits (and it's always wise to assume you will be doing so). However, there are cases where you may be allowed to choose the doctor to handle your case, and they include the following.
1. If State Laws Allow It
As a rule, state laws determine whether you can choose a doctor for your work injury or not. In some states, you are either restricted to a specific doctor chosen by your employer or to a network of doctors chosen by your state, workers compensation insurance carrier, or employer. In such states, your worker's compensation claim process will hit a snag if you choose a doctor outside the specified ones. Therefore, if you have been injured at work, the first thing is to get clarification on which doctor you can see; your employer or lawyer can be of help here.
2. If It's the Initial Visit
In many cases, you are allowed to see a doctor of your own choosing for the initial treatment; this is sometimes even the case in states that restrict injured workers to specific doctors. This makes sense because, in emergency situations, it may not always be possible to see the specified doctor. However, you still need to switch to the specified doctor after your situation has stabilized.
Consider an example in which machining equipment has cut your hand to the bone, and you need immediate medical care to stop the bleeding and save your hand. In such a case, some states allow you to go to any emergency room for this initial care. After that, you will revert to the specified doctor to help your hand heal fully.
3. If You Need a Specialist
Lastly, you may also be allowed to see a doctor or medical professionals other than the specified one if you need a specialist for your medical care. Consider a case where you banged your head in a slip and fall accident, and you need a neurologist to diagnose your memory and balance problems. In such a case, you will be allowed to consult a neurologist of your own choosing if he specified doctor doesn't practice the specialization.
Don't assume that your claim will be automatically denied just because you saw a doctor of your own choosing. Consult a worker's compensation lawyer for your issues before making any decision.