Choosing a doctor to take care of you through a workers’ compensation claim is an important decision that requires careful research and several conversations.
This doctor, called a treating doctor, will not only help you recover from your injury or illness, but will also communicate your progress and defend related medical costs to your employer throughout the treatment. That’s why you should try to find a physician who’s not only medically qualified to take care of you, but who will also stand up for you during your workers’ compensation case.
The Importance of the Treating Doctor
In Indiana, the Workers’ Compensation Board has allowed the employer to choose a doctor to treat injured workers, except in emergency situations. After an emergency medical treatment, employees should contact their employer right away and request coverage under workers’ compensation.
Treating doctors in a workers’ compensation case are responsible for prescribing medications and treatment plans as well as referring injured employees to other specialists if required. While you may feel confident in your primary care provider’s skill and knowledge of your medical history, you don’t have a choice in initial medical examination through workers’ compensation claims in Indiana; your employer has already chosen which doctor(s) employees should see.
This “company doctor” tends to benefit employers and insurance carriers, but not injured employees, for a few reasons. First, the employer will likely choose doctors with inexpensive treatment options. Inexpensive treatment may mean the doctor chooses to avoid prescribing adequate medication or fails to recommend specialist treatment. Second, doctors may feel pressure from the employer to recommend that employees return to work earlier than their injuries allow them to.
For this reason, Indiana law and legal action allows injured workers to select their own doctor under certain conditions.
Failure to Provide “Reasonable and Necessary Care”
If the company doctor appears negligent in his or her treatment plan for your injury, you can change doctors to any one you’d like. However, your employer and/or insurance carrier may deny your request to change physicians, which means you have to seek compensation through the Workers’ Compensation Board of Indiana.
Choosing a Treating Doctor
If you find yourself searching for a treating doctor for your workers’ compensation injury, there are several factors you should keep in mind before simply selecting your primary care physician.
- Does the doctor have experience treating this specific condition?
- Is the doctor familiar with the Indiana workers’ compensation system?
- Is the doctor willing to testify in court on your behalf?
These factors plus the security and confidence you feel in the doctor’s presence should inform your selection of this person who will be important to both your personal wellbeing and your workers’ compensation claim.
A strong relationship with your doctor, whether the company doctor or one of your choosing, can help you heal faster and file a more solid workers’ compensation claim. If you don’t trust or like your treating doctor, you may be less likely to show up for appointments, which will reflect poorly on your claim and may even end up causing it to be denied.
If you don’t feel confident around your company doctor, ask your employer what you need to do to change treating doctors. The upfront hassle will be well worth the effort if it means your claim won’t be denied.
Help from an Indiana Workers’ Compensation Attorney
Even if you have been seeing the company doctor for several appointments, you may still be able to switch to a more trusted medical professional if you believe you are not receiving adequate treatment. In this situation, a local workers’ compensation attorney can be invaluable help.
Hensley Legal Group’s workers’ compensation lawyers have detailed knowledge about care providers in the state who also deal with workers’ compensation claims regularly. Our lawyers can help you find a physician and strengthen your workers’ compensation case in the process. Contact us today for a free consultation of your case.