DO I GET TO PICK MY OWN DOCTORS IN A WORKERS’ COMP CASE?
Under Florida law, the employer’s insurance carrier generally gets to choose the doctors that you treat for your work injury.
Most workers who are hurt on the job make arrangements to go to the nearest Emergency Room or someone makes the arrangements for them. After the initial ER visit, the employer’s workers’ comp carrier will typically choose a walk-in clinic for you to continue your treatment. After undergoing an initial evaluation, diagnostic studies, and a course of physical therapy, most injured workers are then referred to a specialist, usually an orthopedic surgeon. Once again, the workers’ comp carrier gets to select the orthopedic surgeon or other specialists. The workers’ comp carrier gets to choose the doctors you treat with, unless:
1. You require emergency medical treatment.
2. The carrier doesn’t send you to a doctor within a reasonable time after a request in writing.
3. The insurance carrier has a managed care arrangement, in which case you get to select a doctor within their managed care network.
4. Your workers’ comp claim is initially denied.
If you are unhappy with your treating doctor, you do have the right to request a change in doctor, commonly referred to as a one-time change in physician. You are only allowed to request a change once in a case. The insurance carrier gets to choose your new doctor unless they fail to authorize a new doctor within 5 days of a request in writing. If they fail to timely authorize, you get to select the change in physician.
When you and the carrier have a dispute about your medical care, either or both may request an Independent Medical Examination (IME). However, you are only entitled to one IME during the pendency of your case. Although you do get to select the IME physician, you also have to pay for the examination out of your own pocket. The IME is limited to one visit. If the carrier is under a managed care arrangement, the carrier is responsible for paying for the IME.
If your injury does not fall into one of the categories described above, still give our office a call. We offer free consultations and we do not charge you unless we win your case.
Each case presents with difference facts and circumstances. This is why it is important to talk to an attorney immediately after being injured. Call us at (941) 748-5599 or contact us via email at email@example.com. We serve clients in Bradenton, Parrish, Sarasota, Lakewood Ranch, and elsewhere in Southwest Florida.