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The right choice: Your own physician in workers’ comp claims

On Behalf of | Oct 28, 2022 | Workers' Compensation

After sustaining a workplace injury, you need to seek immediate medical attention and inform your employer as this represents a prime example of a workers’ compensation claim.

Along the way, you want the right care from the right doctor – a health professional whom you can trust. In Mississippi, injured workers have the right to select their own doctors to provide necessary treatment and care.

Your doctor vs. one picked by employer’s carrier

Compared with some other states, Mississippi is an exception when it comes to this matter. A number of states do not allow an injured worker to choose their own doctor in workers’ compensation claims.

In such situations, the worker is forced to see a doctor assigned by the employer’s insurance company. Insurance companies often rely on their own network of doctors, and this group of health care professionals typically has the best interest of the insurance companies rather than the patients.

A doctor hand-picked by an employer’s insurance company may claim that your injury is not severe enough or that you may return to work sooner than you really should. This may only aggravate the injury.

A single referral without the employer’s approval

Trust remains a key issue when choosing a doctor. You want a doctor with whom you remain familiar and who has regularly treated you in medical matters. Naturally, this makes for a better choice rather than relying on your employer to make that decision.

In addition, your chosen provider may make a single referral to another medical specialist for continuing treatment and do so without an employer or insurance carrier’s approval. Any additional referrals, though, must gain advance approval from your employer or its insurance company.

Doctor plays a critical role

The physician plays a critical role in your effort to secure workers’ compensation benefits. The doctor’s findings may determine the success of your claim and the amount of time that you will get these benefits. Rely on a trustworthy doctor.

How can you lose the right to choose your own doctor?

There are basically three ways you can lose the right to choose your own doctor:

  1. If a doctor performs surgery on the injured employee, the doctor becomes the choice;
  2. If the injured worker treats with a doctor for more than 6 months, that doctor becomes the choice;
  3. If the injured worker signs a “choice of physician” form provided by the employer or insurance company, that doctor becomes the choice. You should NEVER sign a choice of physician form without consulting with an attorney.

The Pearson Law Firm has experience dealing with doctors all over the state of Mississippi. We will make sure you are treated by doctors who will provide you excellent care AND be fair to you in matters relating to your workers compensation claim.