There are many important steps to take after suffering an on-the-job accident to ensure you receive both the care and compensation you deserve. Chief among them will be filing the necessary paperwork through your employer in a timely manner and finding the best doctor to aid in your recovery. While you are required by law to visit a doctor from your company’s approved list of providers at the onset of any Worker’s Compensation claim, it’s important for you to feel comfortable about your choice in order to heal both physically and mentally following your accident.
Your employer is legally required to either contract with a Board-certified Managed Care Organization (MCO) to provide a health care program for injured workers OR compile a panel of physicians, consisting of at least six physicians or professional associations from which you can choose. If it’s the latter, that panel will likely include at least one orthopedic surgeon, a minority physician, and four other properly qualified physicians. Unfortunately, at The Edmonson Law Firm, we’ve witnessed time again Worker’s Compensation clients who don’t believe their company-approved doctor had their best interests at heart. There are three key measures you can take to ensure that you find the right doctor to fit you and your needs, while complying with the stringent parameters of a Worker’s Compensation claim…
1. If You Have Time, Do Your Research
Traditionally, as they have for centuries, doctors still take the Hippocratic Oath upon graduation from medical school – pledging to adhere to specific ethical standards such as upholding confidentiality and to do no harm to the patients they serve. That said, not all doctors are created equal. Some may have a less-than-comforting bedside manner while others will take the time to listen to your concerns and assuage your fears. It also comes down to personal preferences. For instance, you may feel more comfortable with a female physician over a male, or you don’t wish to travel more than 20 miles away. If time and your injuries allow, we highly recommend you take your company-approved list of providers and do a little research. Websites like Healthgrades.com, Vitals.com, and RateMDs.com are excellent resources for vetting doctors, sharing things like patient reviews, point-ratings, credentials, hospital affiliations, education, and more. Find the doctor who looks the best on paper to fit your needs and set an appointment.
2. Communication is Key
If you’ve already started seeing one of the physicians from your company’s pre-approved list but feel that they are not a good fit for you, initiate a discussion with your company’s HR department. Let them know you are uncomfortable with your current doctor, outline the reasons why and request that you be allowed to set an appointment with a different doctor from the pre-approved list. While it is a universal belief that you should always get a second opinion, the fact that your case is being funded by your employer’s Worker’s Compensation Insurance, you’ll need your company’s approval prior to switching doctors. It may be a simple request, particularly if your company has contracted with an MCO or one of the listings on their pre-approved panels is a professional association – broadening your list of choices beyond just six physicians.
3. Request to See Your Own Doctor
Most working adults already have a primary care physician in place that they trust. While you are unable to initially visit your own doctor when an on-the-job accident is involved, there are a few special circumstances that may warrant a request to see your own doctor:
A) According to Georgia law, if none of the doctors on the employer-provided list are available to see you at the time of your accident, you can select your own doctor. Be sure to keep excellent records that the other company-approved doctors were unavailable, preferably in writing.
B) In the event that your initial Worker’s Compensation claim is denied, you can visit your own doctor. Unfortunately, you and your insurance company will have to cover any associated costs initially. We encourage you to look to the Worker’s Compensation attorneys at The Edmonson Law Firm to appeal your claim so that – once the decision to deny is overturned – your employer’s Worker’s Compensation Insurance will reimburse your medical costs and cover the costs of future treatment.
C) In the event of a potentially catastrophic accident that involves a trip to the Emergency Room, you may be able to sidestep a visit to your employer’s panel of physicians initially. Be sure to communicate to your attending physician at the hospital that this was a work-related injury, so it’s listed in your medical records. However, once released from the hospital, your employer will likely ask that you follow up with a company-approved doctor from their panel of physicians.
If you are unable to switch doctors after placing a request through your company’s HR Department and are unhappy with the outcomes of your treatment, we invite you to contact the experienced Worker’s Compensation attorneys at The Edmonson Law Firm to discuss your options. We are proud to offer an initial FREE CONSULTATION and can be reached by calling 678-271-9111, emailing email@example.com, filling out our secure online contact form or dropping by Georgia’s Hometown Law Firm – located at 924 Gainesville Hwy, Suite 200, in Buford. To learn about our other practice areas – including Personal Injury and Social Security Disability – be sure to visit us online at www.elf-legal.com.