When seeking medical treatment following a work injury, you have the right you choose your own physician in D.C.

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Obviously, for a severe or life threatening injury, you should get immediate medical attention and you're entitled under the law to do so. Your employer's workers compensation insurance company must pay for all medical treatment related to the injury, including an ambulance bill and emergency room treatment. In a construction accident, for example, an injured employee is entitled to go to the emergency room for immediate medical care, and that should be his or her immediate focus.

In practice, especially on larger job sites, a foreman or supervisor will often drive he injured employee to the nearest hospital or follow the ambulance and assist with any paper work regarding payment, such as insurance forms, etc. Hospitals cannot turn patients away if they require immediate medical attention, and certainly all of the local hospitals in Washington, D.C. have treated and cared for injured workers.

After immediate attention that is required, there is an absolute right of an injured worker to choose his or her own treating physician. Don't believe it when the insurance company says you have to see an "approved" doctor or a workers comp doctor, or your company says you need to go to a "Workers Clinic" for treatment.

That is NOT the law in the District of Columbia.

While you have the right to choose your own physician, it is important to start with a physician who is knowledgeable and experienced and will get you the treatment, tests and referrals your injury requires. Make sure to get the best physician for your condition or injury. Do the research, ask for referrals from friends and family. If you have a question call our office. We do not refer people to doctors but we can tell you if the doctor you're considering is one of the insurance company "go to" guys.

The attorneys here at Donahoe Kearney cannot emphasize this point enough, because it is critical. In D.C. and Maryland you have the right to choose your own doctor when you get hurt at work. The only, "conditions or procedures" you have to follow are making the appointment.


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Frank R. Kearney, Attorney-at-Law
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Experienced DC Workers' Comp, Long Term Disability & Accident Lawyer
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