Can I Go to My Own Doctor for a Workers’ Compensation Claim?

Mount Laurel Workers’ Compensation Attorneys

If you file a workers’ compensation claim with your employer after an accident or job-related injury, your employer’s insurance company doctor will likely examine you to determine the extent and nature of your injuries. Under New Jersey’s workers’ compensation laws, employers can choose the doctor you must see.

In certain situations, however, your employer (or your employer’s insurance company) may agree to let you choose your own doctor. On the other hand, if your doctor is not authorized by your employer (or employer’s insurance provider), or you have been specifically instructed to see the insurance provider’s doctor, you can’t see a doctor of your choosing for your workers’ compensation claim.

Denial of a Workers’ Compensation Claim — Getting a Second Opinion

If your employer insists on choosing your doctor, you may want to get a second opinion. Keep in mind, however, that the doctor you choose is subject to your employer’s approval. Here, workers’ compensation claims can be a bit tricky — since the doctor works for your employer’s insurer, he or she may have an unspoken incentive to minimize costs to your employer. As a result, insurance company doctors downplaying injuries or claiming workers are ready to return to work before they really are is not unheard of.

In these kinds of cases, it’s best to talk to an experienced workers’ compensation attorney who can help you navigate the workers’ compensation appeals process while protecting your rights and financial interests.

A Difference of Opinion: the Insurer’s Doctor and Yours

Suppose you suffer from what you believe is carpal tunnel syndrome and are experiencing tingling and weakness in your arm. You’ve developed these symptoms due to the repetitive motion required by your work. After you file a workers’ compensation claim, your employer instructs you to see a doctor it has chosen for you. The doctor examines you and decides you need physical therapy and are able to return to work.

You then decide to see your own doctor, who takes some x-rays of your spine and neck. He discovers that you have retrolisthesis and endplate spurring. He suggests surgery may be necessary, but can be avoided if you take a month off from work and use physical therapy. In this situation, your employer is not obligated to accept your doctor’s finding. If this happens, your only alternative is to hire a workers’ compensation attorney and take your employer to court.

Problems with Your Employer’s Doctor? Contact Taylor & Boguski

If you’re being told you’re ready to return to work even though you know you aren’t, contact Mount Laurel workers’ compensation attorneys at Taylor & Boguski today. We can evaluate your case, discuss the best options available to you and ensure that your rights and interests are protected.