Choosing a Doctor

Chicago Lawyers Assisting Workers' Compensation Claimants

Work injuries can happen in many different ways and in all industries. Work accidents may include falls on construction sites, electrocution, toxic chemical exposure injuries in manufacturing plants, and car accidents. There are different types of injuries that may result, including broken bones, crushing injuries, paralysis, or traumatic brain injuries. It is critical to be able to trust your doctor and any treatment that the doctor recommends. Choosing a doctor to treat your work-related injury is an important decision. If you are concerned about the benefits available to you in a workers' compensation claim, you should consult the Chicago workers' compensation lawyers at Katz, Friedman, Eisenstein, Eagle, Johnson & Bareck.

Choosing a Doctor Following a Workplace Accident

Illinois workers' compensation is a system of benefits that includes payment for the medical costs of work-related injuries. Most employees in Illinois are covered from the day that they start a particular job. The Illinois Workers' Compensation Commission administers claims.

Under Illinois workers' compensation law, you are entitled to have your medical bills covered. These include your doctor's appointments, medications, medical equipment, physical therapy, and operations that may be necessary. The limitation placed by the law is that for one injury, you are only allowed to choose your provider twice. Each of these two choices comes with any referrals by the doctor whom you picked to another doctor. For example, if you choose your family practitioner for a work-related injury, and she refers you to an orthopedic surgeon for further care, this is a single choice. Any emergency care will not count as one of the two choices, so you should seek emergency care immediately after suffering a work-related injury without being concerned.

Your employer's workers' compensation insurer cannot choose the doctor who treats you for your work-related injuries. However, there are some employers with preferred provider networks, and they can require that you pick a provider from the network. You can choose a doctor from that preferred provider network twice. You can opt out of choosing from the employer's preferred provider network, but in that case, you will only have one choice instead of two.

Some workers are rightfully concerned that a doctor chosen by their employer is more concerned about the employer’s interests than their own interests. An employer might suggest that you see a particular doctor because it knows that the doctor is more conservative and will not recommend surgery or a longer recovery period. Workers should be cautious and choose doctors whom they trust to place their best interests first. You should be aware that if you do not like your first doctor, and you do not like your second doctor, the employer is usually not required to pay for a third whom it has not approved.

Your employer can ask you to get a medical exam by a doctor of its choice, at its own cost. The exam should take place at a reasonable place and time. The employer should cover lost wages and medical mileage. While you need to allow an examination to go forward, you do not need to be treated by that doctor. Usually, the doctor will generate a report, and you are supposed to be given the report at least 48 hours prior to an arbitration hearing.

Under workers' compensation law, the insurer is limited in its ability to interfere with the medical care that you receive. You do not need to permit an insurer to attend doctors' appointments, and you should not. It can help to have an experienced attorney advocating for your rights under the workers' compensation law.

Retain an Experienced Chicago Attorney for Your Work Injury Case

Some insurance companies refuse compensation for imaging, medical evaluations, physical therapy, or even surgeries that workers need after suffering work-related injuries. They may unfairly deny that your injuries are work-related. If you are concerned about choosing a doctor, you should consult an experienced workers' compensation lawyer about your claim. At Katz, Friedman, Eisenstein, Eagle, Johnson & Bareck, we represent accident victims in Chicago, Quincy, Rockford, Champaign, Springfield, and Aurora, as well as other cities in Adams, Winnebago, Champaign, Sangamon, Kane, and Cook Counties. Call us at 312-263-6330 or toll-free at 800-444-1525 for a free consultation.