Injuries and illnesses happen daily. When these unfortunate events occur in the workplace, you may be able to file a workers’ compensation claim. Depending on the laws for your state, your employer’s carrier may have to pay for your treatment.
While treating, what kind of doctor do you have to see? Your physician has been seeing you for years, and you feel more comfortable with them. However, the workers’ compensation carrier wants you to see someone else. Can you continue seeing your doctor, or must you see the doctor the carrier refers you to for evaluation and treatment? In a time when you are uncertain about how to proceed, take a look at how this process works.
The Treating Physician Is an Important Influence
When you go to the doctor, they draw up a treatment plan for what ails you. When you are facing a workers’ compensation claim, this treatment plan becomes a crucial part of the process. If a doctor finds that your illness or injury is related to your working conditions, the medical evidence they provide is evidence in the claim. Depending on how claims are processed in the state where you live, it may mean that all current and future treatment falls on the shoulders of the carrier to bear. On the other hand, a doctor who is interested in keeping costs for a provider down may not find that your situation qualifies as a work injury. Thus, your claim may be denied, and your health insurance may have to cover the costs.
An Independent Medical Examination
A workers’ comp carrier may want you to be examined by a third-party physician to either support or deny your current treatment plan. This is known as an Independent Medical Examination or IME, and the workers’ comp carrier arranges it. If you are currently suing your employer along with the carrier, this may be a necessary step in the process. An IME takes place with a physician of the company’s choosing and involves physical examination, a records review and possible diagnostic testing. You may have been through all of this before, but going through it again is part of the process. If the report prepared by this physician is in sharp contrast to that of your primary treating physician, the claims and litigation process may stall.
The workers’ compensation process may feel overwhelming, especially if your claim is valid. If your injury or illness is the result of your employment, both the IME and your treating physician should agree on most treatment plans. A work lawyer may help you sort through the muddy waters of the claims process and get you the help your health requires.