A workplace injury can upend life as you know it. It might leave you unable to work and earn your wage, which can be extraordinarily problematic when you have medical bills and other expenses coming due. The good news is that you may be able to secure financial stability by pursuing a workers’ compensation claim.
However, these cases are oftentimes more complicated than they seem. Insurance companies are looking for any way to avoid paying out your claim, which means that they’re going to scrutinize every aspect of your case to see where they can attack it. One way they do this, as we discussed previously, is by having an independent medical examination conducted. But that raises a question: Can your own doctor treat you after suffering a workplace injury?
Which doctor will treat you after being injured on the job?
You would think that you would have the freedom to choose the doctor who treats you following your workplace injury, but if you hope to recover workers’ compensation in Iowa, then you probably won’t be able to do so. Instead, your employer and its insurance company will likely choose the medical professional for you, or they may provide a list of approved providers that you can choose from. Your doctor may not be on that list. That said, you can always ask your employer and the insurance company if you can see your own doctor, but make sure you get authorization to do so in writing before proceeding in that fashion.
This is a key point because your medical care will only be paid for by workers’ compensation benefits if you receive that care from an approved provider. Therefore, you should avoid seeking out ongoing medical care, if possible, without first ensuring that it’s through an authorized provider.
What about changing health care providers?
If you’re seeing a medical professional other than your doctor for your care, then you might be worried about the quality of care that you’ll receive. You might also be concerned that the medical professional is motivated to push you back to work and thereby end your workers’ compensation benefits.
If you think that there are issues with the medical care being provided, then you can seek to transfer your care. Your first step here may be to simply speak to your employer and its insurance company to see if they’ll agree to the change. If so, then you can move your treatment to another authorized provider. It they don’t support the change, then you may have to file a contest with the workers’ compensation commissioner.
Here, you’ll need to be prepared to argue why you think a change of doctor is necessary. This might mean gathering evidence that shows that you’ve received improper care or that the doctor who has been treating you has been biased in some fashion. You might also need to show how another identified provider is better suited to meet your treatment needs, which, again, will require you to gather and present evidence supporting your position.
Successfully navigating your workers’ compensation claim
There are a lot of intricacies to a workers’ compensation claim. You have to be able to appropriately maneuver through them if you want to better ensure that you’re able to recover the benefits that you need.
So, if you want to maximize your chances of securing the resources you need to obtain financial stability and needed medical care, then you might want to think about working closely with a legal professional who knows how to navigate these claims.