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Choosing Your Own Doctor for a Workers’ Compensation Claim

Posted on behalf of Phillips Law Group on Feb 23, 2018 in Workers' Compensation

stethoscope and insurance claim formChoosing a doctor to treat your workplace injury or illness is an important decision that may impact your physical recovery and workers’ compensation benefits.

In Arizona, most employees have the right to seek medical treatment from a health care provider of their choosing after suffering a work-related injury. However, your ability to choose your own doctor depends on your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance.

Phillips Law Group’s Phoenix workers’ compensation attorneys are available to answer your questions about your rights during the workers’ compensation process, including your right to choose your own doctor to treat your workplace injury or illness. Contact us for a free, no obligation consultation to learn more.

The Right to Choose Your Doctor

If your employer is self-insured for workers’ compensation and contracts medical care with a physician registered with the Industrial Commission of Arizona (ICA), you must be treated by a doctor chosen by your employer.

If your employer is like most companies in the state and has workers’ compensation insurance through a private company, you are entitled to choose your own doctor. However, your employer can require that you see a doctor of its choosing for one visit.

After your initial examination, you can select a health care provider of your choosing to be your treating physician. However, if you continue to see your employer’s chosen doctor for more than one appointment, that doctor will become your treating doctor by default.

Your chosen physician will play an important role in your workers’ compensation claim, as he or she will determine how long you need to recover from your injury, the type of treatment you will receive and if you have a permanent injury. Your workers’ compensation claim will be based on the conclusions of your doctor, and the compensation you receive will only cover what your doctor determines is medically necessary for treating your injury.   

Because of this, it is important to choose a doctor with your best interests in mind. Doctors who are hired by the insurance company may have a different focus and may be more interested in lowering the insurance company’s payout than ensuring you receive the best course of medical treatment.

Changing Doctors

Once you have selected a doctor to treat your work-related injury or illness, you cannot change to another health care provide unless you have approval from your current treating doctor, your employer’s insurance company or the ICA.

If your current doctor does not approve your transfer, you must contact your employer’s workers’ compensation insurer and request approval to change your treating physician.

If the insurance company does not approve your transfer, you may apply to the ICA for approval. Your application must be made in writing and include:

  • Your claim information
  • Your signature
  • The names and addresses of your current doctor and the doctor you want to transfer treatment to
  • An explanation detailing why you want to transfer your medical care.

The ICA will then review your request to transfer medical care and either approve or deny your application. During the review process, the ICA may contact your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance company or the doctors involved for their opinions on why the change should be made.

However, it is important that you do not begin treatment with a new doctor without an approved transfer. If you ignore the request process and seek medical treatment from an unapproved doctor, your medical bills may not be paid.

Contact a Phoenix Workers’ Compensation Lawyer for Help

If you are injured in a workplace accident, it is important to know your rights, including if can choose your treating physician.

At the Phillips Law Group, our Phoenix workers’ compensation lawyers are well-versed in the many laws that apply to workers’ compensation claims. We will guide you through the workers’ compensation process while answering any questions you may have.

Do not hesitate to schedule a free, no obligation consultation with our attorneys for help with your workers’ compensation claim. We work on a contingency fee basis and do not charge our clients upfront legal fees. You are only required to pay us if we recover compensation for your claim.

Fill out our Free Case Evaluation form to get started.

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