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WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW BEFORE VISITING A WORKERS COMP DOCTOR

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What is a Workers’ Comp Doctor?

Before filing a workers’ comp claim, you need to be examined by a workers’ comp doctor. Workers’ compensation doctors are health care providers or approved physicians who provide medical treatment to people who have sustained work-related injuries. They are trained in occupational injury and work with your employer’s insurance company to get you to your previous state of health before the injury.

A workers’ compensation insurance company usually recommends workers’ comp doctors, and you may be unable to rely on the services of your own doctor for a workers’ compensation claim. However, your personal doctor could provide you with an independent medical exam and give you a second opinion.

Once you have sustained a workplace injury, the next step is to have a workers’ compensation doctor assess you. The doctor will also investigate your medical history or whether you have any pre-existing conditions. The doctor then evaluates your injuries and prescribes the appropriate medical treatment.

Workers’ compensation doctors are an integral part of the workers’ compensation claim process. They keep medical records that prove your injury or illness and the required medical treatment. Insurance companies then use this information to determine if you are eligible for workers’ compensation benefits and how much you stand to get.

When Should I Visit a Workers’ Comp Doctor?

Suppose you have been involved in a work accident or experienced a work injury. In that case, you should see a medical provider immediately to avoid any complications. However, if your work injury is not an emergency, you should first inform your employer before taking further steps. This approach would help you avoid any issues with your proceeding to the next stage and avoid issues with your claim for financial compensation because many insurance companies disregard independent medical exams and need their authorized provider’s reports.

You should know that work-related injuries are not limited to injuries sustained from sudden accidents at work. They include any deterioration of your health and physical well-being over time due to your profession and line of work. Many workers’ compensation cases involve working in an environment with a negative impact on health.

It is the job of your treating doctor to determine the extent of your work injury, establish its severity, and recommend medical treatment. The doctor also determines the amount of time you need to rest from work to promote full recovery. When you have seen a treating physician, you should proceed with your workers’ compensation claim to receive your benefits.

However, the process of claiming your compensation may turn out to be quite challenging, and you may encounter some uncooperative personalities. In that case, you might need a top-notch lawyer for workers’ comp to guide you through the workers’ comp claim process.

Can I Choose My Doctor for Workers’ Comp?

 

After a work accident or injury, you might be tempted to approach your personal or family doctor for treatment, especially since they already know your medical history. However, this course of action may not be appropriate in these circumstances.

The workers’ compensation law varies from state to state. Injured workers must see a company doctor selected by the employer or the compensation insurance carrier in some locations. Your company may also have rules that require you to visit a specific workers’ comp doctor. Going against those rules or state laws and visiting your own doctor will make your insurance claim lose credibility.

Nevertheless, you may be allowed to visit a doctor near you at the moment if the workplace accident is an emergency.

It is understandable if you’re not aware of all the relevant rules and regulations to start out. However, at this point, you might need some professional guidance. If you’re in Missouri, you might want to contact a workers’ compensation attorney for more insight.

 

How to Find a Workers’ Comp Doctor

Workers’ compensation provides insurance for all necessary medical care and treatment for a work-related injury or illness. The services provided include physical therapy, medical examination, and other treatments.

If you need to find a workers’ compensation doctor, you will typically need to rely on your employer’s direction. Your employer or insurance company usually has a list of doctors from which you can choose your treating physician.

In some cases, you might be allowed to change doctors or seek treatment with your preferred medical provider. This is usually after you must have seen the doctor selected by your employer for a stated period. However, you should seek legal advice from a workers’ comp attorney in your state before making such a move. It is better to be cautious by consulting your attorney to avoid jeopardizing your claim.

 

What to Expect During the Examination

 

People usually don’t know what they should expect during the examination. Here are some details to help you set your expectations.

Evaluation

The doctor will do a detailed evaluation of your injury. The doctor will review your medical history and details of any previous injuries or conditions that may be relevant to your current injury.

You will also undergo a thorough physical examination and assessment of the injured area. The doctor will also analyze and evaluate your range of motion, strength, and other associated factors.

Lab Tests

The doctor might order some tests such as X-rays, MRIs, and CT scans to get a detailed view of the injured area to determine the extent of the damage. You will also need to do some blood tests or other laboratory tests to help diagnose your injury.

The doctor will start the initial treatment by recommending you any immediate treatments, such as medications, physical therapy, or any other related thing.

Scheduling of Future Appointments

Your doctor will schedule follow-up appointments to monitor your healing progress and adjust your treatment as needed.

Determine any Work Restrictions

Finally, your doctor will help you identify if there are any physical limitations, pain levels, or any underlying condition that might need you to work in a different way or not at all.

Usually, doctors suggest a temporary work restriction for serious injuries. This includes reduced work shift hours, modified tasks, or anything else until your injury heals.

In some serious cases, the doctor recommends permanent restrictions. This is because your injury might have caused a permanent limitation.

All of it is to help you in treatment. The details of your medical record will be used for the worker’s comp claims.

Understanding Your Rights and Responsibilities

When navigating the realm of workers’ compensation, it’s essential to grasp your rights and duties during medical treatment. You have the right to receive appropriate and timely medical care for injuries sustained at work. This includes access to necessary medical evaluations, treatments, and medications prescribed by the workers’ compensation doctor.

However, your responsibilities are equally crucial. You must attend all scheduled appointments and adhere to the prescribed treatment plans. Honest communication with your healthcare provider about your injury and its impact on your daily life is imperative.

Disagreeing with a workers’ comp doctor’s diagnosis or treatment plan can be daunting. If you find yourself in this situation, you’re entitled to seek a second opinion, though the process for this can vary based on your state’s workers’ compensation laws.

Typically, you should report your concerns to your employer or their insurance carrier and formally request a reevaluation or second opinion. Ensure this communication is in writing to document your actions and the reasons for your disagreement.

Navigating these rights and responsibilities effectively can significantly influence the outcome of your workers’ compensation claim. It’s important to stay informed and proactive throughout this process.

Can You Sue a Workers’ Compensation Doctor for Malpractice?

 

While your employer or insurance company recommends the workers’ compensation doctor, the attending physician must also perform his duties as a neutral professional. The doctor should examine the injured worker without bias and give an honest medical report based on their findings.

However, this may not always be the case. Because an insurance company appoints workers’ compensation doctors, you may find that they have not made an accurate representation of your state of health. This may have occurred to limit or reduce your benefits and wage payouts fraudulently. That way, the insurance company can save money since they do not have to compensate you fully.

The doctors who do this may be financially motivated to side with the insurance companies that employ them.

Suppose you are in such a position where you suspect that your health has been mismanaged or that your diagnosis or medical report is inaccurate. In that case, you might want to seek independent treatment from a different medical provider. This is crucial, especially if you discover that your health has not improved since the treatment commenced.

Workers’ compensation doctors are also not immune to lawsuits. Therefore, if you discover that the initial company doctor told a lie or has been dishonest in your treatment, you might be able to sue for medical malpractice. However, it would be inappropriate to sue your workers’ compensation doctor for medical malpractice because of a personal gripe or because you didn’t like the outcome of your case.

Nevertheless, at this point, it would benefit you to hire an experienced workers’ comp attorney to determine your legal options and perhaps represent you in court.

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