Can I Choose My Own Workers’ Comp Doctor?

Can I Choose My Own Workers' Comp Doctor

You cannot generally choose your own workers’ compensation doctor. Laws in many states, like Indiana, dictate that your employer directs medical care, meaning they may tell you which doctor to see for a work-related injury or illness. Your employer’s insurance company may also have a say in which doctor you see.

You can often benefit from hiring a workers’ compensation attorney in Evansville to assist with your claim. They can ensure you get the medical evaluation and treatment you need. Your lawyer will also negotiate for the benefits you deserve.

An Insurance Company May Have a Preexisting Relationship with Your Doctor

Insurance companies do not choose doctors at random. When the insurance company picks a doctor for you to see, they may be thinking of their own financial interests. This means you may have to see a doctor that:

Provides Inexpensive Treatment

The insurance company must pay for your medical care.

Therefore, it may choose a doctor it hopes will:

  • Provide the minimum amount of medical care you need
  • Prescribe cost-effective treatment
  • Describe you as reaching maximum medical improvement (MMI) as soon as possible

Your interests will differ. You will want the best possible medical care for as long as needed. This presents a conflict of interest that your lawyer will work to resolve.

Does Not Recommend the Treatment You Need

Because a doctor who works with the insurance company may have ulterior motives in treating you, the doctor may not recommend all the treatment you need.

This places you at risk of:

  • Improper diagnosis
  • Misdiagnoses
  • Other improper medical decisions that compromise your health and recovery

If you feel you are receiving inadequate care from the doctor the insurance company chooses, your lawyer will explain your options for seeking alternative diagnoses and treatment.

Is Inclined to Side with the Insurance Company

The insurer may choose a doctor it uses regularly. This means that, on some level, the insurer refers business to the doctor. The doctor may have a financial interest in preserving their relationship with the insurer.

The doctor may recognize that insurance companies want to pay as little as possible to injured workers. Therefore, the care and diagnoses you receive (or don’t receive) from the doctor may reflect this conflict of interest.

What Can I Do if I Am Unsatisfied With the Doctor Involved in My Claim?

If you suspect that the insurance company’s chosen doctor is cutting corners or failing to provide adequate care, you have a couple of options. You and your lawyer may:

Request an Independent Medical Exam (IME)

The state Worker’s Compensation Board (WCB) may grant your request for an independent medical exam. Rather than the insurance company choosing the doctor to administer your IME, the Worker’s Compensation Board may choose the doctor.

This might provide a better evaluation than the insurance company-chosen doctor.

Seek a Second Opinion from Your Chosen Doctor

You can always see a doctor of your choosing. The cost of seeing your chosen doctor may come out of your pocket or fall to your health insurance provider.

However, you may prefer to see your own doctor because:

  • Your chosen doctor will not have the conflicts of interest that the insurance company’s chosen provider may have
  • Your doctor will be worried about providing accurate diagnoses and necessary care, period
  • You may have confidence that your chosen doctor has your best interests in mind

Your workers’ compensation lawyer may use your doctor’s diagnoses and treatment recommendations as they negotiate with the insurance company.

Allow a Workers’ Compensation Attorney to Protect and Serve You

Workers’ Compensation AttorneyAs you can see, a workers’ compensation claim can be complicated from the outset. Simply seeing a doctor may be stressful, as you must determine whether the doctor is handling your evaluation in good faith.

When you hire a workers’ compensation lawyer, you:

  • Have a trusted advisor to monitor the medical process: The medical evaluation process is a key step in your workers’ compensation claim. Your attorney will monitor this process, determine if you’re receiving subpar care, and help you get the treatment you deserve.
  • Have an ally who understands the workers’ compensation process: Your attorney should have years of experience representing injured and sick workers. This will provide your lawyer with a high level of familiarity with the claims process, as well as the knowledge and skills necessary to complete your claim.
  • Can focus exclusively on your recovery: Workers’ comp lawyers oversee every aspect of their clients’ claims. You may better focus on your health because you won’t have to worry about the claims process.
  • Have the law firm’s financial backing: Whether you are seeing a doctor or hiring experts to contribute to your claim, there are costs associated with the workers’ compensation process. Your law firm will cover these costs for you, and their fee structure will allow them to recover these costs if they succeed for you.
  • Will know you’re exhausting every option for seeking compensation: Some injured workers may file lawsuits. Your attorney will discuss all your options for obtaining the compensation you deserve.

Having a lawyer can provide much-needed peace of mind for an injured worker. Your workers’ compensation attorney may instill confidence that your claim will succeed, and they will do everything in their power to secure the money you deserve.

A Workers’ Compensation Lawyer’s Contingency Fee Structure Benefits You

Contingency fees are the common fee structure among workers’ compensation attorneys.

This fee arrangement allows every injured worker to hire a lawyer because:

  • The worker does not pay any upfront fee to the firm
  • The firm pays for all costs required to complete the claim
  • The workers’ comp attorney only receives payment if they secure compensation for the client
  • The law firm takes the financial risk associated with the case so the injured worker does not have to

Your law firm’s mission is to minimize your financial hardship. This low-risk fee structure reflects the mission.

How a Workers’ Compensation Lawyer Will Lead Your Claim

Workers’ CompensationThe claims process can be unpredictable. Even so, your lawyer will know the general path that workers’ comp claims follow. Your lawyer will:

Help You Arrange Medical Care

If you need to arrange an independent medical exam or see your own doctor, your lawyer can help arrange this care.

Your attorney will also:

  • Prepare you for your visit(s)
  • Obtain documentation of your injuries
  • Collect medical bills
  • Work with your doctors in preparation for settlement negotiations

Because medical evaluations are critical to a workers’ compensation claim, your lawyer will ensure you receive the care you need.

Document the Work-Related Event That Caused You Harm

Your lawyer will document the event or circumstances that have led you to pursue a workers’ compensation claim.

Your legal team will:

  • Interview any witnesses whose testimony can benefit your claim
  • Obtain any video evidence related to your claim
  • Hire experts who may reconstruct a harmful accident, testify about fault, or assist with your claim in other ways

Your attorney will obtain any evidence relevant to your claim or lawsuit.

Document Losses Caused by Your Work Injury

You will seek compensation for specific losses. Your attorney will document those losses, as insurers may require such compensation before providing a fair settlement.

Relevant documentation may include:

  • Medical bills
  • Images of injuries
  • Doctors’ diagnoses of your injuries or illness
  • Proof of past income to prove how much income you have lost

If any other documentation helps prove your losses, your attorney will incorporate that in your claim or lawsuit.

Calculate How Much Money You Deserve

Your attorney will consult qualified experts to determine the exact financial value of your claim or lawsuit. After assigning a financial value to all your losses, your lawyer will know how much money you deserve.

Negotiate with Insurers

Once you have undergone medical treatment and your lawyer has evaluated your losses, you can negotiate a financial settlement.

Negotiations may require your lawyer to:

  • Present all available documentation of your losses
  • Present all evidence related to your work-related accident
  • Provide details of how they calculated the value of your losses
  • Address any counter-arguments the insurance company makes against your claim
  • Make a comprehensive case for the compensation you deserve

Work injury attorneys are always negotiating on their clients’ behalf. This negotiating experience is a compelling reason to let a lawyer lead your claim.

Oversee Any Necessary Lawsuit

Though injured workers typically pursue workers’ compensation claims, lawsuits are sometimes necessary. If you are eligible for a lawsuit, a lawyer can file and complete the suit on your behalf.

Losses Injured Workers Deserve Compensation For

Employer’s InsuranceInjured and sick workers suddenly lose income and face unexpected financial burdens. Your lawyer will seek compensation for all of your covered losses, which may include:

Healthcare Costs

Whether you suffered an injury or fell ill because of work-related circumstances, you may need:

  • A comprehensive physical exam
  • Imaging services (perhaps including X-rays, biological testing, MRIs, and CT scans)
  • Surgery
  • Appointments with various doctors (possibly including specialists)
  • Many other medical services

Medical expenses can be exorbitant when workers suffer catastrophic health problems like paraplegia, traumatic brain injuries, and terminal illnesses. Your attorney will work closely with medical professionals so they can accurately value your medical expenses.

Lost Income

Workers are generally entitled to income replacement when they become sick or injured. Your attorney will seek the maximum amount of compensation you are entitled to for lost income.

Vocational Training

Even once you recover from injury or illness, you may need retraining to resume work. Your symptoms may require you to change jobs or roles. You should be compensated fairly for the time and expense of vocational retraining.

If you are entitled to compensation for any other losses, your attorney will urge the insurance company to pay you fairly.

How Do I Choose My Workers’ Compensation Attorney?

You should choose a lawyer deliberately, as you want the attorney who is most qualified to handle your claim or lawsuit.

You should identify a lawyer who:

  • Frequently handles workers’ compensation claims: Experience is one of the clearest ways to separate one workers’ comp lawyer from the next. All things being equal, you should choose the lawyer with the most experience.
  • Has glowing reviews from former clients: Former clients are a resource for you. Read written reviews and watch video testimonials from a law firm’s former clients. These reviews will give you a preview of how the law firm will handle your claim or lawsuit.
  • Has rock-solid case results: Law firms often post case results on their websites. Evaluate how prospective law firms have performed in workers’ comp cases and other relevant case types. You should also consider how often a law firm secures jury awards, as going to trial indicates that a law firm will do everything possible to secure compensation for clients.
  • Offers a contingency fee: Contingency fees are the preferred fee structure for most clients. You should be certain that a law firm offers a contingency fee arrangement before you hire that firm.
  • Has an office near you: Proximity is important for a law firm to handle your claim effectively. Even if your lawyer does not have an office in your city, they should be reasonably close. This will ensure the law firm can visit your place of employment and attend to other case-related duties without issue.
  • Impresses you during your free consultation: You can speak with law firms at no cost and with no obligations. Take advantage of the free consultation process as you search for your workers’ compensation lawyer.
Randal Klezmer, Evansville Workers Compensation Attorney
Randal Klezmer, Evansville Workers Compensation Attorney

Only you can identify the best law firm to handle your case. Start with these search criteria and trust your instincts when choosing your lawyer.

Hire Your Workers’ Comp Attorney Today

Your workers’ compensation lawyer will guide you through every step of the claims process, including finding a doctor who will evaluate you comprehensively and transparently. Don’t wait to hire your lawyer, as they may face deadlines and other time-sensitive responsibilities.

Schedule a Free Initial Consultation Today!