Can workers’ comp force you to see their doctor?
If you are injured at work or on the job, you are probably entitled to workers' compensation benefits, including medical treatment, compensation for lost wages, and compensation for any permanent disability. But when it comes to medical treatment, you may have questions that don’t have obvious answers, such as:
What is a workers’ compensation doctor?
If you experience an on-the-job injury, you should report it to the company as soon as possible. Unless it is an emergency, the company will most likely send you for an examination and treatment through a doctor or clinic with whom the company or its workers comp insurance has a business relationship. You should go to that physician. And you should tell them that you were injured at work. That physician may refer you to one or more specialists. And you should go to those physicians too.
Can I go to any doctor for workers’ comp?
Under Alabama law, an employer who is subject to a workers compensation claim has a duty to provide medical care for an injured employee. But the employer has the right to choose who is to provide that care, since they are paying for it. An employer also has the right to require an injured employee to submit to an examination by a physician designated by the employer. If the worker wants his employer to pay for his medical treatment, he should seek it from those physicians designated by the employer.
How do I find a doctor that takes workers’ comp?
But an injured employee also has the right to a second opinion. Alabama workers’ compensation law allows an injured worker a one-time option to request the opinion of another physician. The employer (or their workers’ compensation insurer) will provide a list of four alternative physicians from which the employee can choose. However, the employee can exercise this option only once during the treatment for a specified injury.
An injured employee also has the right to seek additional medical opinions from a physician or other healthcare provider of his choice. BUT the employer does not have to pay for those examinations. And health insurance will not likely cover those costs either, which can be quite expensive.