One of the first questions our clients ask us is why aren’t allowed to seek treatment from their primary doctor. For some people, seeing a workers’ comp doctor they aren’t familiar with can be very intimidating. It can also make for a very uncomfortable situation. Our Atlanta workers’ compensation attorneys completely understand why you may feel this way.
However, according to Georgia law, you don’t have an option. If you file a workers’ compensation claim, you must be treated by a state-approved workers’ comp doctor. If you decide to see a different doctor from the one assigned to you, it could jeopardize your claim.
Here, we’ll discuss why you’re required to see a state-approved, certified workers’ compensation doctor. We’ll also explain what will happen if you insist on being treated by somebody else. Rather than risk losing your benefits, contact our office.
You can arrange for a free, initial consultation with one of our workers’ comp lawyers in Georgia. You can sit down and tell your side of the story. You can also ask any questions you may have.
The State Certifies Certain Physicians as Qualified to Treat Workers’ Compensation Cases
There are a handful of doctors that the State of Georgia certifies as being qualified to handle workers’ compensation cases. There is a list of doctors who can treat employees who get hurt while on the job. They don’t need to practice any particular type of medicine.
Of course, if you need a specialist, then your employer’s insurance carrier will find one that is authorized to treat a worker’s comp claimant. If, however, you decide to find a doctor on your own, you’ll run into a couple of serious problems.
First, your workers’ compensation claim will not cover medical treatment provided by a doctor who isn’t certified by the state. This means that you could be held liable for the costs of this treatment. If your primary healthcare provider covers this care, they’re going to expect to be reimbursed at some point. Since workers comp isn’t going to do this, you could end up in a pickle.
The other problem you may encounter is that your workers’ comp benefits could be terminated. Once the insurance company learns that you’re being treated by a non-certified physician, they may terminate your claim. This means that your benefits will end, and you will have to return to work. If you aren’t capable of doing that, there’s a chance that you could be fired.
If You See a Different Doctor, Your Care Will Not Be Covered
When you first attempt to see a different doctor, they’re going to ask you to complete intake paperwork. The forms you have to fill out will ask if your injuries are related to a workplace accident. There’s a reason why they ask this.
They aren’t going to treat you if they know they won’t be paid for their services. If they know you’re in the middle of a workers’ compensation claim, they will likely reach out to your insurance carrier. They will find out which doctor has been assigned to your case and refer you back to them.
You Risk Your Benefits Being Terminated if You See Your Own Doctor
If you decide to go against the rules and see a doctor other than the one assigned to you, your benefits will likely be terminated. The point of workers’ compensation is to help you recover from your workplace injuries so you can get back to work.
If you refuse to see the doctor assigned to your case, then you’re delaying your recovery. The insurance company isn’t going to stand for that. If you insist on seeing someone other than the state-approved workers’ compensation doctor, your claim may be denied.
Even if your benefits are already being paid, that doesn’t mean the insurance company can’t terminate them. You need to ask yourself if this is worth it. Your Atlanta workers’ compensation attorney will advise you to go back to your assigned doctor. If you refuse to heed their advice, they may recuse themselves from your case.
Your Atlanta Workers’ Compensation Attorney Can Get a Second Opinion
At some point, your workers’ compensation doctor will determine that it’s time for you to return to work. When this happens, your workers’ comp lawyer in Atlanta may ask to get you a second medical opinion. They’ll find an independent doctor to evaluate you.
If the second doctor believes you need further treatment, they’ll let your attorney know. They will also draft their own independent report stating what they found. While there may be a charge for your appointment with this second doctor, it is worth it if you end up getting the additional treatment you need.
If You’re Having Issues With Your Workers’ Comp Case, Contact a Workers’ Comp Lawyer in Georgia
If you were hurt at work and are having trouble with your workers’ comp case, don’t panic. You can call our office and enjoy a free, initial consultation with one of our workers’ comp lawyers in Georgia. Sit down with someone who has handled dozens of cases like yours in the past.
Your Atlanta workers’ compensation attorney can answer any questions or concerns you may have. Since we don’t charge our clients anything upfront, it gives you the chance to find out what options are available to you.
If you have already compromised your claim by seeing a doctor that wasn’t assigned to your case, your attorney will do their best to help. However, they can’t do anything about getting the bills covered by workers comp. What they can do is help you transition to a state-approved doctor so you can continue your treatment.
We recommend that you call our office as soon as possible after your workplace accident. Take advantage of your free consultation. If our Atlanta workers’ compensation attorneys believe your case is worth pursuing, they will let you know. If, however, they don’t believe there is a viable chance of winning your case, they’ll let you know that as well.