If injured at work, you should be entitled to claim against your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance. Choosing the right doctor is crucial to receiving the treatment you need. Their opinion on your ability to return to work will also affect your compensation.
Can I choose my doctor?
Some states require you to go with the one your employer or their insurer tells you. Illinois workers’ compensation laws allow you to choose a doctor. Here is how it works in Illinois:
- Your employer must provide a panel of doctors for you to choose from
- You can select two doctors from the panel
- You could also opt for one doctor who is outside the panel
Why might you want to choose a doctor outside the panel?
- Independence: While workers’ compensation insurance is a great resource, you need to remember that the insurance company exists to create profit for its shareholders. Insurers have deals with particular doctors and clinics. In exchange for sending so many patients, they get reduced rates. A doctor who ends up costing the insurer too much money is unlikely to last long on their list.
- Familiarity: Seeing a new doctor can be an unsettling experience, especially if your injury requires you to remove your clothes. If you have been with one physician for years, you may feel more comfortable with them.
What if my preferred physician is not a specialist in my injury area?
The insurer must also cover the cost of any specialist the initial doctor recommends you see. So you might see a whole chain of specialists, all of which should be covered. Knowing your rights is essential to getting the treatment and compensation you need after a workplace accident.