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Dealing With Doctors For Your Workers’ Compensation Injury

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When an employee sustains an injury on the job and decides to file a workers’ compensation claim with their employer, they must obviously get the injury treated by a doctor to ensure it will heal and the employee can (hopefully) return to work. Florida law holds that they must see a doctor of their insurer’s choosing – but sometimes this can lead to problems. It is important to understand your options if a doctor becomes a roadblock between you and recovery.

Some Doctors Don’t Care

While many people have horror stories of doctors in treating injuries not sustained on the job, being stuck with an apathetic or actively hostile doctor for a workers’ compensation related injury is doubly difficult, because their apathy may cost you time spent injured, or even money. If your doctor decides you are uninjured, or that your injury did not occur as a result of an on-the-job accident, there is not that much recourse for most, as inequitable as it may sound.

The only real option that you would likely have is to change doctors – but this is not optimal to do at the initial clinic level, which is when most people encounter the most intransigence. The reason for this is that Florida law only allows you to change doctors once during the workers’ compensation process – thus, if you require a different specialist, but you have already changed doctors during the initial phase, you may be denied the care you need unless you pay out of your own pocket.

Changing Doctors Is Risky

Even if you do decide to change doctors, it is not without potential pitfalls. You do not get to choose your new doctor – thus, you may not wind up liking the doctor you receive, or they may be even more obstructive than the old one. However, there are also potential positives to be gained by making the switch, not least of all that you may wind up with a doctor who agrees that you have been injured, or is generally less obstructive than your previous one.

In order to swap doctors, you must make the request to your insurance company in writing, and after that, they have five days to respond. If they do not respond within that time, you are permitted to choose any doctor you wish, but sadly, this lack of response is quite rare. Most of the time, your insurer will choose another doctor for you, and you will not be permitted to appeal this choice. You would be granted a new doctor if you move more than a certain number of miles away from the area, or if your doctor decides to no longer handle workers’ compensation cases – but these are the only two ways, and again, the choice would not be yours unless the insurer did not respond in time.

Contact An Orlando Workers’ Compensation Attorney

If you are injured on the job, a doctor should be interested in helping you heal, rather than saving your insurer money – but the decision to change physicians can be a difficult one. The Orlando workers’ compensation lawyers at the Hornsby Law Group are experienced in these cases, and are happy to try and help you figure out the best course of action for you and yours. Call our office today at 866-300-5468 (toll free) to set up an appointment.

Resource:

leg.state.fl.us/statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&URL=0400-0499/0440/Sections/0440.13.html

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