Suffering a workplace injury can really throw a wrench in both your professional and personal life. The last thing you want to hear is that you aren’t allowed to choose your own workers compensation doctor. The good news is that your Atlanta workers comp attorney can reach out to your employer and let them know you have every intention of being treated fairly.
You Must Be Treated by a State-Approved Workers Compensation Doctor
One of the criteria for receiving workers compensation benefits is that you must agree to be treated by a state-approved doctor. Initially, your employer will choose a physician from the list of available doctors on the State Board of Workers Compensation’s Physician Database.
If you aren’t happy with the doctor they’ve chosen, you have the right to choose a different doctor from the list of six physicians in the “Panel of Physicians.” At least one of these doctors must be an orthopedic surgeon. This way, if you end up needing surgery on your back or knee, you know there’s an available surgeon ready to help.
Georgia Certifies a Handful of Doctors to Handle Workers Compensation Cases
Your Atlanta workers comp lawyer is familiar with the physician database available on the State Board of Workers Compensation’s website. Not only does this database include the names of doctors, but it also tells you what their specialty is.
For example, imagine that you need to see an occupational therapist after you have your surgery. You can go to this website and see which therapists are available in your area. This way, when your employer assigns you a therapist, you can let them know which one you’d prefer to work with.
You Can’t Just Go to Your Primary Physician for Treatment
One of the biggest mistakes you can make is going to your primary physician for treatment. Your Atlanta workers comp attorney has seen this happen too many times to count.
Any treatment provided by a primary physician is not going to be covered by workers compensation insurance. This means you may be responsible for paying these bills out of pocket.
While you can certainly arrange to see an approved physician after the fact, it won’t change the fact that you’ll have unpaid bills from your primary. You’ll also have to ensure that your new, state-approved doctor gets your chart and other doctor’s notes so they can treat you properly.
The State Board of Workers Compensation Provides a Database of All Approved Physicians
The physician database on the Georgia State Board of Workers Compensation website can be used by your employer or your Atlanta workers comp lawyer. Your attorney can help you choose a doctor if need be. They can also help you do research to see if the doctor assigned to you is fully qualified.
One concern your Atlanta workers comp attorney may have with his database is that doctors are self-reported. It invites any doctor who claims to be certified to treat workers compensation cases to add their information to the database.
What you don’t want to do is choose a doctor who you later learn isn’t qualified to treat your work-related injuries.
You Can Choose a Different Workers Compensation Doctor From the Panel of Physicians
If you aren’t happy with the doctor your employer assigns to your case, you still have options. According to OCGA §34-9-1, any employee who is being treated through a workers compensation claim can change their doctor one time without prior approval.
This means that, regardless of who your employer assigns your claim to, you can unilaterally change the treating doctor assigned to your case. For example, you may go to your initial appointment with the assigned doctor. You don’t feel that the doctor is taking your injuries seriously.
According to Georgia law, you can always change to a different workers compensation doctor. Of course, after this, if you want to make any other changes, they will have to be approved by your employer and insurance carrier.
Your Atlanta Workers Comp Attorney Can Always Get a Second Opinion
As your case comes to a close, your workers comp doctor is going to determine that you’ve reached maximum medical improvement. This is when your doctor believes that you will not benefit from further treatment.
If your Atlanta workers comp attorney doesn’t feel that you have met this point, they can arrange for a second opinion. They’ll find an independent doctor who can review your case. If this doctor feels that you need further treatment, they will submit a report that says as much.
Your Atlanta workers comp lawyer can then submit a copy of this report to the insurance carrier. If they give you a hard time about receiving additional treatment, your attorney can always appeal the matter.
Your Atlanta Workers Comp Lawyer Will Also Make Sure Your Medical Treatment is Covered
The main goal of workers compensation is to ensure that you receive the medical care you need free of charge. It wouldn’t be fair for an employee to have to pay for their own medical care. As long as your injuries are work-related, your employer’s insurance carrier should treat your injuries.
The fact that you cannot pick your doctor shouldn’t be all that important to you. The doctors that are included in your employer’s panel of physicians are all highly qualified and should be able to provide you with excellent care.
Reach Out to an Experienced Atlanta Workers Comp Attorney Right Away
When it comes to workers compensation, you don’t have much choice in who provides your medical care. However, you are allowed to choose from your employer’s panel of physicians. If you aren’t given this option, contact an Atlanta workers comp attorney right away.
For some people, it shouldn’t matter who oversees your care. After all, what are the odds of your being familiar with any of the doctors on the panel of physicians? The truth is that it doesn’t matter. You have the right to review the available doctors, do your own research, and then make a decision.
Our Firm Offers All New Clients a Free, Initial Consultation
We suggest you contact our office and speak with an experienced Atlanta workers comp lawyer. They will review your case and answer any questions you may have. If they believe there is something worth pursuing, they’ll let you know.
We offer all new clients a free, initial consultation. This way, you can have a legal professional review your case free of charge.