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Choosing a Doctor After an Auto Industry Injury

Chicago Lawyers Helping Factory Employees

Autoworkers are exposed to many dangers on the job. They experience high rates of injury and illness. Common injuries sustained by autoworkers include traumatic brain injury, carpal tunnel syndrome, contusions, strains, sprains, tears, lacerations, cuts, and fractures. If you have suffered injuries while working, immediately seek proper medical treatment. If you have questions about the process of choosing a doctor after an auto industry injury, you should talk to the Chicago workers’ compensation attorneys of Katz, Friedman, Eisenstein, Johnson, Bareck & Bertuca.

Choosing a Doctor After an Auto Industry Injury

The Illinois workers’ compensation system was designed so that injured workers could obtain compensation more easily than through civil litigation. One of the benefits available under the workers’ compensation system is the provision of medical care. Your employer’s insurer should pay for your reasonable and necessary medical care, and you can select the doctor who will provide your care.

You should seek emergency care right away if you are injured in an accident on the job. For example, if you sustained a severe back injury after a heavy object fell on you at an auto manufacturing plant, you should seek emergency care. In some cases, severe back pain is a sign of a serious injury and documenting through medical records the connection between your injury and your work accident may strengthen your case.

Preferred Provider Program

You should be aware that if your employer belongs to a Preferred Provider Program, you can choose up to two different doctors to visit. Generally, employers have incentives to be enrolled in a program since enrollment can save money. If you do not like the care you received from the first doctor chosen from a Preferred Provider Program, you can find a different second doctor. Any emergency care you receive will not count as one of your two choices. Either of the doctors you have chosen can refer you to a specialist, and the specialist will not count as one of your choices. If you visit a third doctor who is not a referral or emergency doctor, the workers’ compensation insurer may not have to pay for it.

Often, people choose a general practitioner or family care doctor as their first choice. You should choose a licensed doctor rather than a chiropractor because an arbitrator or adjustor is more likely to treat a licensed doctor’s opinion seriously.

If your employer belongs to a Preferred Provider Program, but you do not like any of the doctors available within network, you will only have one choice to see a doctor outside the network that will be covered by your workers’ compensation insurer. In other words, if you do not like the original out-of-network doctor, workers’ compensation insurance will usually not need to pay for your care with a different one. An experienced workers’ compensation lawyer can answer your questions about selecting in-network and out-of-network doctors to treat your work-related injury.

Independent Medical Exam

Your employer may request that you attend an independent medical exam. If you fail to go to your independent medical exam, your insurer can stop paying for benefits. You should keep in mind that the doctor you see for an independent medical exam is not your treating physician. Her goal is to evaluate your condition and answer the insurer’s questions. The exam is not necessarily independent. Instead, insurers usually select doctors with a history of recommending conservative treatments and siding with insurers. Your employer must make sure the doctor’s visit is at a reasonable place and time, and pay expenses to cover lost income, exam costs, travel costs, and meals. Bringing someone along to the exam to observe may be helpful. The doctor needs to provide you and the employer with the exam report.

Retain a Seasoned Chicago Attorney

Autoworkers may sustain serious injuries on the job. Medical care for serious injuries is often very expensive, but workers’ compensation insurance should cover it. If you are an autoworker concerned about choosing a doctor after an auto industry injury, you should talk over your situation with the experienced workers’ compensation lawyers of Katz, Friedman, Eisenstein, Johnson, Bareck & Bertuca. Our firm represents injured autoworkers in Chicago, Rockford, Quincy, Aurora, Quincy, and Champaign, as well as Kane, Winnebago, Adams, Cook, and Sangamon Counties. Call us at 800-444-1525 or 312-263-6330 or complete our online form.