Your doctor’s role in a workers’ compensation claim is critical. As you get treatment for your injuries, it will be the doctor’s opinion that has the most weight in determining your overall benefits package.
There can be massive variances in doctors’ opinions, which can affect when you return to work, how much care you’ll be authorized to receive, and how long you’ll be able to receive that care as a covered benefit.
There can be a lot of confusion and complexity in workers’ compensation claims, especially when it comes to the process of how your doctor is chosen. If you are injured at work, reach out to an experienced workers’ compensation attorney.
Can I Pick My Own Doctor?
Each state’s workers’ compensation laws are different, so you can’t necessarily conclude that what you observe in one state is consistent with Virginia.
Here, you do have the option to select a doctor. However, there is a significant caveat. The list of physicians from which you can choose, called the “panel of physicians,” is limited to just three doctors. So, even though you get to choose your doctor, you must select from a list given to you by your employer or the insurance company.
As you review your list, be on the lookout for whether the doctors are connected in any way. For the panel of physicians to be valid, it must contain three independent doctors. Independent in this context means they are not affiliated with the same office or practice.
When the doctors are too closely connected, the panel is said to be “defective.” When this happens, you must receive a new list from which to make your selection. A failure by your employer or insurance company to provide alternatives could give you the option to select your own doctor, granting you ultimate freedom of choice. Having an experienced workers’ compensation attorney will help in determining if this an option you do in fact have.
Choosing the Right Doctor for Your Workers’ Compensation Claim
A workers’ compensation attorney familiar with the physician’s network in Virginia can help you make the right choice. The doctor’s opinion is vital in a worker’s comp claim. Their opinion can influence your lost wages benefits package, medical treatment approvals, and even the overall value of your claim.
Another thing to keep in mind that you might not be aware of is that your physician is authorized to refer you to specialists and other necessary healthcare providers and therapists, even if those providers are “out of network.” What’s key to remember here is that the doctor is in control of your health, not insurance companies.
And finally, you could potentially have ultimate flexibility in choosing your doctor if your workers’ compensation claim gets denied. However, you’ll have to pay out of pocket or use your health insurance to cover the bills. This situation continues until you attend a hearing and are granted a medical award to reimburse you for your expenses.
Contact a Workers’ Compensation Attorney in Virginia
Workers’ compensation law can get complicated, and there are many intricacies that can affect your case. If you’ve been injured on the job, a workers’ compensation attorney can help. Get in touch with Geoff McDonald & Associates today for a free consultation.
This consultation is entirely confidential, and you won’t be charged legal fees until we receive compensation for your case.