What if You Disagree With Your Workers’ Compensation Doctor?
In Florida, if you are injured on the job, your employer through its workers’ compensation carrier has the right to dictate almost everything about your medical treatment. That includes which doctor you see, the kind of treatment you get, and the treatment options that are offered to you.
Going to The Correct Doctor
It can be tempting to just ignore the doctor that workers’ compensation has sent you to, especially if you have your own doctor. After all, if you are diligently getting treatment, and following doctor’s orders, does it matter which doctor you are seeing? For the purpose of workers’ compensation and getting compensation benefits, it certainly does.
Seeing a doctor other than the one that workers’ compensation wants you to see can be treated as if you did not see a doctor at all. It can be seen by the insurance carrier as a failure to get medical treatment.
The same goes if you get treatment from both the workers’ compensation doctor and your own doctor—following your own doctor’s orders and not the workers’ compensation doctor’s orders can be seen as noncompliance, and can lead to a termination of your benefits.
When Disputes Arise
Of course, the workers’ compensation doctor is there to save the insurance company money, and will do everything to shortchange you the treatment you need. The doctor may say that you do not need therapy, procedures, or diagnostics that you need, or may say that you are healed when you are not.
The solution to this problem is to see a workers’ compensation attorney—not to treat with your own private physician. Likewise for situations where a workers’ compensation doctor clears you as being ready to go back to work when you know you aren’t ready. The answer is not to stay home, or seek a second opinion from your own doctor that says you cannot work.
Going Back to Work
The law says that once the workers’ compensation doctor says you can go back to work, you must make a good faith effort to do so. If you fail to try, you could lose the ability to get lost wage benefits.
If you disagree with the doctor’s assessment that you can return to work, your options are either to find a good workers’ compensation attorney, or to utilize the one time option under workers’ compensation to switch physicians (although you still don’t get to choose your own doctor; the workers’ compensation carrier will assign you to another one).
If Your Employer Doesn’t Cooperate
In some cases, your employer may not make the accommodations that you need to allow you to return to work. Your employer should contact the workers’ compensation carrier and inform them that it does not have the light or restricted duty that you need to return to work. If you are in contact with a workers’ compensation adjuster, you may want to let the adjuster know that yourself as well.
Injured on the job? The Tampa workers’ compensation attorneys at Barbas, Nuñez, Sanders, Butler & Hovsepian can help you deal with your workers’ compensation problems. Call us today to discuss obtaining damages for your injuries. Schedule a consultation today.