Do I Have My Choice Of Doctors In A Workers’ Compensation Claim?
Unfortunately, the answer to this question is typically, no. Florida workers’ compensation laws give insurance companies the right to choose the doctor (or doctors) that injured workers must see. You must be examined and treated by an authorized workers’ compensation doctor in order to remain eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. In most cases, the only medical opinions that are admissible in workers’ compensation court are from doctors authorized by the insurance company.
You are entitled to a one-time change of your doctor at any point during the process, but remember, you can only change doctors once. The new doctor will be chosen by the insurance company. Don’t ask for a change of doctor unless you are certain it is the right thing to do. Attorney Christopher J. Annis of the Law Office of Christopher J. Annis, LLC, in Gainesville can help you make the right decisions regarding medical treatment in your workers’ compensation case.
Here are some common reasons why you might want to consider changing doctors.
- Your doctor says you are ready to return to work, but you do not feel ready.
- Your doctor doesn’t think you need to see a specialist, but you feel that you do.
- Your doctor refuses to recommend advanced medical testing, like an MRI.
- Your doctor has placed you at Maximum Medical Improvement (MMI), but you do not feel you are there yet.
- You’re just not getting along with your doctor, or you don’t feel that your doctor is listening to you.
Your Right to an Independent Medical Exam
One way around the rule that all medical professionals must be approved by your employer’s insurance provider is through an independent medical exam or “IME.” If you disagree with a diagnosis, you have the right to receive an independent medical exam by a physician of your choice outside the workers’ compensation system. However, there are many things to think about before having an IME.
- You are typically only entitled to one IME, so it is important to choose your IME wisely.
- In most cases, you must pay for your IME out of your own pocket. This is another reason to choose carefully.
- The insurance company is entitled to its own IME, which will likely go against your IME.
- If you select an IME physician who is unfamiliar with the workers’ compensation system, your doctor may not be effective in writing reports or testifying for you if your case goes to trial.
- You need an IME doctor who is trained in the right specialty to be able to adequately testify about your injury.
Gainesville Workers’ Compensation Attorney with Knowledge of Local Doctors
Receiving the right treatment and supporting your claim with proper documentation is essential to collecting the full amount of benefits you deserve. An experienced workers’ compensation lawyer like Mr. Annis can be the difference between collecting full benefits and having your claim denied. Contact us to schedule a free consultation.