When you are injured at work, your employer has a legal obligation to select a medical provider, arrange for treatment, and pay for your care. In the early stages of your workers’ compensation claim, your own doctor won’t provide treatment and your health insurance company won’t pay any of your claims. That leaves you to pay for any treatment you receive that you don’t receive from the doctor your employer sent you to.
The Problem of Loyalty with Doctors in Workers’ Compensation Cases
The doctor you initially see must have standard credentials just like any other doctor. He or she may also have specialty certification to treat your type of injury. However, it’s important to keep in mind that this physician is receiving payment from your employer. The situation is set-up for a conflict of interest right from the start. It is in the doctor’s best interests to dismiss you from their care as soon as possible. The statement that he or she provides to your employer or your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance carrier has a significant impact on the benefits you will receive from your claim.
Your Right to Request a Second Opinion
If you object to the physician, the treatment he or she provided you, or the facility your employer sent you to, then you need to put in a request to the claims adjuster assigned to your case. The same is true if you disagree with the doctor’s findings and would like a second opinion. Your employer’s insurance company must provide you with a disclosure of rights. We encourage you to be proactive about clarifying your rights since most claims adjusters won’t volunteer anything more than basic information.
When the Insurance Company Denies Your Claim or Refuses Proper Medical Care
Unfortunately, employers don’t always do the right thing when it comes to injury claims from their employees. If your employer denies your claim outright or refuses reasonably necessary medical treatment, you’re free to see any doctor you choose. While you will have to pay your medical costs upfront, your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance company will be liable for those costs if you can later prove that your injuries are work related. In this instance, you can continue to see the doctor that you selected as well.
Sometimes employers tell injured workers to go to whatever doctor they want only to recant this statement when the bills come due. If you have experienced this hardship, you need an experienced Alabama workers’ compensation attorney to hold your employer liable for your medical expenses.
What to Expect from Our Workers’ Compensation Lawyers
At Burge & Burge, PC, we understand that dealing with a work injury can be extraordinarily challenging even when everything goes as it should. When you’re treated unfairly or not getting the proper medical attention, the stress can feel overwhelming. At a time when you should only have to focus on getting better, you’re worried about how you’re going to pay the bills when you can’t work and your employer’s doctor insists that you can.
When you have seen the doctor your employer assigned, requested a different doctor, and still don’t feel satisfied, it’s time to take back control of your health. Your first step in being able to see the doctor of your choice is to contact our Birmingham, Alabama law office for a free initial evaluation of your workers’ compensation case. Contact Burge & Burge, PC at (205) 545-8291 or contact us online. Our experienced workers’ compensation attorneys will let you know if you’re within your legal rights to see your own doctor and then work to make that happen. Burge & Burge, PC serves clients in Birmingham as well as Greystone, Homewood, Hoover, Jasper and many other communities across Alabama.