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Choosing a Doctor for Injured City of Chicago Workers

Chicago Lawyers Helping Municipal Employees

The City of Chicago self-insures its workers’ compensation claims. They are approved to pay employees for work-related injuries rather than retain a workers’ compensation insurer to handle claims. Reasonable and necessary medical treatment is one of the important workers’ compensation benefits to which you may be entitled as a City worker injured on the job. The City will typically pay these expenses directly to your doctor. If you have questions about choosing a doctor for injured City of Chicago workers, you should talk to our Chicago workers’ compensation attorneys about your case.

Choosing a Doctor for Injured City of Chicago Workers

Under the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act, your employer should pay for your reasonable and necessary medical care after you are injured on the job. Like insurers, the City of Chicago may attempt to avoid making benefit payments to you if it suspects that a treating physician's recommendations and requests for authorization are not appropriate or excessive. You might assume that because you’re a City employee, the City will understand and accommodate the extent of your injuries. However, you may encounter obstacles when trying to obtain medical benefits. You are covered from the first day you start working for the city of Chicago.

In Illinois, you are entitled to choose your own doctor. You will have two choices of doctors to provide medical care. When your employer, the City, participates in a preferred provider program, you may select up to two doctors in that program. However, if you don't want to see a doctor from the preferred provider program, you'll be able to choose just one out-of-network doctor.

If you’re unhappy with the first physician from the preferred provider program, you can select a second, different physician. You can also obtain care from any specialist to whom you're referred by one of the doctors that you chose, along with any subsequent specialists referred after that. For example, if you are a City of Chicago sanitation worker who sustained a spinal injury while working, you could see your family doctor. If your doctor refers you to a neurosurgeon, the neurosurgeon will count as part of your first choice. At that point, if you believe that your family doctor and neurosurgeon are not providing adequate care, you could select another doctor. And if the new doctor you chose referred you to other specialists, they will count as part of your second choice.

You should seek medical care immediately after sustaining injuries. An ER doctor will not count as one of your two choices. Moreover, if you see a third doctor to whom you were not referred and is not giving you emergency care, the City may not pay for the medical care you received from the third doctor. If you have questions about choosing a doctor for your workers’ compensation claim, speak with an experienced lawyer who can help you with your claim.

Independent Medical Examination (IME)

If the City disagrees with the determinations of the doctors that you chose or to whom you were referred, you may be asked to undergo an IME. In spite of its name, this examination is not independent or necessarily objective. The doctor who administers the exam is retained by the City. After the IME, the doctor will prepare a report based on the exam. Both sides should receive a copy of that report 48 hours or more before an arbitration hearing of your claim. It's important to understand that the IME doctor does not owe you a particular professional duty the way your own doctor does. By law, you can be denied benefits if you refuse to go to an IME requested by your employer, even if you’re worried the IME doctor will make recommendations that sharply differ from your own doctor’s.

Discuss Your Medical Benefits With a Chicago Attorney

If you concerned about choosing a doctor for injured City of Chicago workers, you should discuss your work-related injuries with the experienced Chicago lawyers of Katz, Friedman, Eisenstein, Johnson, Bareck & Bertuca. We also represent workers in Aurora, Champaign, Quincy, and Rockford, as well as Winnebago, Sangamon, Kane, Cook, and Adams Counties. Call us at 800-444-1525 or 312-263-6330 or complete our online form.