You Have the Right To Choose Your Own Treating Physician After an Injury at Work in DC
We know exactly how it is. You got hurt at work - maybe you tripped and fell. Or there were unsafe conditions on a construction site. You have to go to the hospital. You're embarrassed. You are hurting. You have never been in the workers compensation system before, so you have no idea how this works.
That's how it is for everyone. You just want to get back to work, and you assume the insurance company is on your side. The insurance company adjuster calls you and tells you that you have to been seen by their physician. They make it sound like your employer is in on it. So you go to their doctor at Concentra or some place like it.
If You Don't Choose Your Own Doctor From The Beginning It Can Be Very Difficult To Change Doctors
First of all, every worker hurt on the job in D.C. has the right to choose their own physician. The workers' comp insurance company can't force you to go to some doctor or clinic, even though they might try.
However, you do have to be careful because they insurance company will try to trick you into what's called "Constructive Choice of A Treating Physician." Once you have been seen by their doctors over a period of time, it may be difficult to change doctors (or at least difficult to do so quickly). They get you into a legal bind - saying that you continued on with the treating physican than you chose to be treated by them. It doesn't matter if they tricked you, and nobody ever told you that you can choose your own doctor. You will probably still have to go to a hearing to get your own doctor approved to treat you.
If you have been tricked by the insurance company and you have discovered the insurance doctor is working against you, you can request a hearing with the Office of Workers Compensation to get the change in physician approved. But this can take several months. If the workers comp insurance company agrees to the requested change, you can begin treatment with the new doctor. If not, you will have to win the hearing in order to change your doctor. We don't recommend doing this without an experienced workers compensation lawyers. Hearings are a lot like a trial and it's not something lay persons can do successfully.
If you have a serious injury like a torn rotator cuff, meniscus tear, herniated disc, or a brain injury, the choice of your doctor is critical because you will probably need surgery and long-term rehabilitation like physical therapy or occupational therapy. You need a specialist- an orthopedist, a concussion specialist- and you can bet on the doctor the insurance company sends you to is not the specialist you need. They may send you to a generalist, an internist, or someone whose specialty is far removed from the injury you're facing. This leaves you exposed, getting inadequate medical treatment, and putting yourself at risk for a permanent injury.
If You Need A New Treating Doctor For A Seroius Work Injury, Contact Our Experienced Workers Compensation Lawyers Today.
If you need to file for a hearing to change your workers comp doctor, you need to hire an experienced workers compensation lawyer to make sure you can win it. In a hearing there are rules of discovery, medical records to be reviewed, and strategic planning to do based on the position of the insurance company. If you have a serious injury, we are the experienced lawyers you are looking for. Give us a call at 202-393-3320 today and we will walk you through our 3 Step Plan to provide stability and certainty after a injury that keeps you from working.