Getting injured or contracting an illness while at work is a terrible ordeal. You likely have to take time off work — losing your regular paycheck and worrying about your responsibilities — to take care of an injury that wasn’t your fault. In this time of need, you will likely want to go straight to your family doctor or someone you trust to treat you. 

Unfortunately, this is not always a good plan if your injury or illness is work-related. If you plan to file for worker’s compensation to help pay for your medical treatment, you may not be able to choose your own doctor. In Florida, your company is allowed to require you to choose a physician or medical facility within its insurance agency’s network. That means that if you do not go to one of these medical facilities or physicians — except in an emergency — your medical bills may not be covered by workers comp.

The doctor you see plays an important part in your worker’s compensation with the state. They will contribute to several decisions in your case including: 

  • Whether or not your injury or illness was directly caused by your job or work environment
  • The extent of the injury and whether it will require ongoing care
  • Whether you need time off work to recover, and what work you will be able to do when you come back
  • When you’ve reached “maximum medical improvement” from your injury

Obviously, you want a doctor you can trust to make these decisions. If you are sent to a subpar facility, your doctor could misdiagnose you or miss an important part of your condition, sending you back to work too early and without benefits. Hopefully, your company has chosen an insurance company with a large network of physician option. However, if you are not happy with your options, there are some cases in which you may be able to choose your own doctor:

  • If you’ve requested treatment and your employer doesn’t provide it within a reasonable amount of time, you may go to any doctor you choose. Your employer’s insurance company will then have to reimburse you for the cost, as long as the treatment was for the work-related injury only and falls within the worker’s compensation guidelines.
  • You may also ask for a second opinion from another doctor within the network if you are unhappy with the first. If the insurance company does not approve your request within a certain time period (typically between three and ten days), you are allowed to seek out your own second opinion. This case can also apply to seeking care from medical specialists such as a surgeon or chiropractor. 

If you’re having trouble finding the right doctor for your case Katherine Stone of Injury Florida Law Firm can help you. She specializes in worker’s compensation and will walk you through the process of receiving the care and benefits you deserve. Contact Katherine at  [email protected] or call the office today for more information.