Can you choose your doctor for a workers’ compensation injury?

If you have been injured on the job, you may be inclined to visit your regular physician for a diagnosis and treatment options.

However, if you choose the wrong physician, you could accidentally disqualify yourself from workers’ compensation benefits that would cover your medical expenses and lost wages.

The 90-day rule

According to Pennsylvania law, your employers can create a list of approved health care providers to tend to an injury or illness you received at work.

If this panel of approved providers is posted appropriately, an employer can require you to use one of these providers for diagnosis and treatment over the first 90 days following your at-work injury or illness.

What happens if I see my own doctor?

If you choose to see your own doctor during this time, your company’s workers’ compensation carrier can choose not to cover the bill for this visit and subsequential treatment costs.

If your workers’ compensation claim is accepted, you can choose to visit any doctor following the 90-day period.

Potential advantages

While you may feel uncomfortable with the idea of seeing a new doctor, choosing a specific doctor can sometimes present scheduling conflicts. Spending too much time waiting for an available appointment with your doctor of choice may mean you wouldn’t get a proper diagnosis of your injury by the time you’d see him or her.

Worse yet, your injury could become aggravated the longer it is left untreated. By working with a doctor of your employer’s choosing, there will be legal and financial pressure to get you the help you need as soon as possible.

When you don’t get the help you need

If your employer doesn’t post the panel of providers properly or fails to get your acknowledgment of the 90-day rule, you may be able to work with a doctor of your choosing instead.

By learning more about workers’ compensation law, you can get professional help to secure the best care without compromising your benefits claim. This will prevent you from missing important deadlines and details that would threaten your eligibility.