Can I Choose my Own Doctor Following a Worker’s Comp Claim?

A frequently asked question we often receive at Edmonson Law Firm from clients involved in Worker’s Compensation claims is “Can I choose my own doctor?” The answer is No and Maybe – not exactly cut and dry, we know, so please allow us to go into greater depth.

An on-the-job accident or illness resulting in a Worker’s Compensation claim can be every bit as stressful as it may be painful. Chances are, you’d like to find comfort and reassurance in visiting a doctor with whom you are familiar and trust. After all, they will be prescribing medications and outlining treatment plans to aid in your recovery. Unfortunately, at the onset of any Worker’s Compensation Claim, you MUST visit a doctor on your company’s approved list of providers. The State of Georgia requires employers to either contract with a Board-certified Managed Care Organization (MCO) to provide a health care program for injured workers OR compile a panel of physicians, consisting of at least six physicians or professional associations. That panel will likely consist of at least one orthopedic surgeon, a minority physician and four other properly qualified physicians. That list can NOT consist of more than two industrial clinics. 

There are – however – a few exceptions to this rule…

Exception #1:

According to Georgia law, if none of the doctors on the employer-provided list are available to see you at the time of your accident, you can select your own doctor.

Exception #2:

If your initial Worker’s Compensation claim is denied, you can visit your own doctor. Unfortunately, you and your insurance company will have to cover any associated costs initially. Look to the Worker’s Compensation attorneys at Edmonson Law Firm to appeal your claim so that – once the decision to deny is overturned – your employer’s Worker’s Compensation Insurance will reimburse your medical costs and cover the costs of future treatment. 

Exception #3:

 Your health is the most important factor in any injury causing event. In the event of a potentially catastrophic accident go to the nearest Emergency Room! Be sure to communicate to your attending physician (and the nurses and administrators) at the hospital that this was a work-related injury, so it’s listed in your medical records. However, once released from the hospital, your employer will likely ask that you follow up with a company-approved doctor from their panel of physicians.

Exceptions aside, when it comes to any Worker’s Compensation claim, it’s best to follow the rules to the letter of the law to ensure the best outcome for you – both financially and physically. Whether you’re looking for a Worker’s Compensation attorney to aid with your claim or appeal, or if you merely have questions, Edmonson Law Firm welcomes your calls and emails. We can even schedule an initial consultation at no charge to you! As Georgia’s Hometown Law Firm, we take pride in helping our neighbors. Our experienced team of attorneys can be reached by calling 678-271-9111, emailing info@elf-legal.com, filling out our secure online contact form or dropping by the firm – located at 924 Gainesville Hwy Suite 200 in Buford. To learn about our other practice areas – including Personal Injury and Social Security Disability – be sure to visit us online at www.elf-legal.com.

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