When you have health insurance and become unhappy with your doctor, you can usually switch to another physician. However, when you’ve suffered an injury on the job and are dealing with workers’ compensation, the situation is not as simple. What do you do if you are unsatisfied with the doctor?
Most states require companies to carry workers’ compensation insurance to care for employees who are injured on the job. Generally, this does not cost employees out of pocket but is instead handled through the employer.
If the doctor that your employer sends you to is not providing adequate care or you believe that you’ve been misdiagnosed, it’s possible to change physicians, but the process is not as simple as dealing with your own insurance company.
After evaluation and treatment, the workers’ compensation doctor will declare an MMI, meaning you have reached your maximum medical improvement. At this point, the doctor states whether you have any permanent disabilities of which they will notify the insurance carrier.
Hereafter the process varies by state, but in the state of Colorado, a “Final Admission of Liability” is filed if the insurance carrier agrees with the doctor’s assessment. You then have 30 days to decide if you agree with the admission and accept the benefits outlined by the insurance carrier.
If you do not agree with this information, you can request a DIME (Division Independent Medical Examination) in which a doctor with whom you have had no prior contact and who has not been previously involved in your care conducts an examination.
Rules and regulations regarding workers’ compensation doctors change from state to state. There are ways to switch doctors under workers’ comp, but you must first understand the particular rules and regulations in your state.
The best rule of thumb regarding a workers’ compensation injury is to hire an attorney who is experienced with the state’s laws and can help you receive the maximum compensation you deserve. Handling this on your own may save you money up front, but it could cost you more than money in the long run.