Regardless of the occupation or industry you work in, there’s always the risk that you could suffer an injury on the job.
Getting hurt at work is more than an inconvenience. It can change your life in many ways, especially if the injury is permanent and/or you’re unable to work in the future to provide for yourself and your family.
The first thing you should do after a workplace injury is obtain medical care. If you can’t transport yourself to a local doctor, urgent care facility, or hospital, ask a coworker to assist you or call 911 for an ambulance.
Depending on the type of injury, severity, and urgency of care, you may have an important question on your mind: do you have the legal right to see your own doctor in a Florida workers’ compensation claim?
What you need to know about the choice of doctor in a Florida workers’ compensation claim
If your work injury calls for medical attention, you may assume that it’s best to schedule an appointment with your primary care physician (PCP).
While this sounds like the right idea, it can be a mistake on many fronts.
Most importantly, should you require immediate medical attention, you don’t have time to wait around for your PCP to find time in their schedule.
Additionally, most workers’ compensation insurance providers require that you see one of their doctors, instead of your own.
So, to answer the question above, yes, you have the right to seek medical care from any doctor of your choosing. However, your initial injury diagnosis—in addition to the care that you receive in an emergency setting—should come from a qualified physician under contract with your employer’s insurance provider.
Why is it necessary to see the workers’ compensation insurance company’s doctor?
You may not like it, but if you’re required to obtain medical care from a doctor aligned with an employer’s insurance provider, it’s critical that you do so.
Workers’ compensation fraud has been a problem for many years. To protect against this, many insurance companies require that injured workers receive care from an unbiased doctor who is expected to provide a clear and accurate medical report to the insurance company.
Is the worker’s compensation insurance doctor always right?
It’s natural to have concerns about letting your employer’s insurance company’s doctor manage your treatment. It’s possible that you could disagree with their diagnosis, especially if you have received a different opinion from another medical provider.
Should you disagree with the diagnosis, you have the legal right to file an appeal and visit your own doctor. But remember, there is more to this than meets the eye. It’s critical to consult with a Florida workers’ compensation attorney to ensure that you understand your legal rights and the steps you can take to protect them.
Questions to ask when visiting workers’ compensation insurance doctor
You know it’s something you have to do, so you agree to be examined by one of the workers’ comp insurance company’s doctors.
While they have the right to examine you, you have the right to share accurate information and ask detailed questions. Some of the questions to ask the doctor include:
- What tests will you run to determine the extent of my work injuries?
- Do you need anything from me to make a more informed and accurate diagnosis?
- Have you diagnosed and treated this type of work injury in the past?
- Will you check for additional injuries that could be related to the primary reason for my visit?
Not only do these questions help clear the air, but they show the worker’s comp insurance doctor that you’re taking their treatment seriously.
Is a Florida workers’ compensation claim denial a possibility?
However, even if your claim appears clear from where you stand, this isn’t always the case. You could still receive a denial letter in the mail.
There are many possible reasons for a workers’ compensation claim denial, including but not limited to:
- Your work injury will not keep you from doing your job
- You did not report your injury to your employer
- You did not file a claim for workers’ compensation in a timely manner
- You’re unable to prove that your injury occurred while on the job
- The workers’ compensation insurance company’s doctor may not have provided an accurate diagnosis
If you receive a denial letter, there are two things you should pay attention to:
- The reason for the denial; and
- The next steps to take if you wish to appeal the initial decision.
Don’t give up if your claim is denied the first time around. Doing so could result in missing out on benefits that you may rightfully deserve.
Every year in the state of Florida, hundreds of people are killed on the job and thousands more are injured.
If you suffered an injury in a Florida workplace and you disagree with the workers’ compensation claim denial, don’t hesitate to contact the experienced team of workers’ comp attorneys at Sternberg / Forsythe, P.A. You can visit our offices in West Palm Beach, Orlando, or Boca Raton, or simply give us a call today to schedule your free consultation.