Many people refer to the doctors who provide medical treatment for work injuries as workers compensation doctors. Some people use the term “company doctors”.
Even though Georgia law gives injured workers the right to pick their doctor off the employer’s panel of physicians, many injured workers are sent directly to these doctors without getting offered a selection. Many people have questions about the doctors to whom their employers send them.
Do Workers Compensation Doctors Actually Work For My Employer?
Probably not. The doctors are picked by your employer to be on their list of doctors (otherwise known as the “panel of physicians”). However, that does not mean the doctor works for your employer.
Your employer should have a posted panel of physicians (unless your employer uses a WC/MCO). This panel should have at least six doctors on it. The doctor that your employer sent you to is probably one of the doctors on the panel.
Many employers use the panel of physicians to their advantage. They may pick doctors who are likely to say that you are not as hurt as you say you are. They may pick doctors who are likely to blame your problems on a preexisting condition instead of the work injury.
This can prevent you from getting the medical treatment you need and the wage loss benefits you should receive if you have to miss work as a result of your injury.
Will the Workers Compensation Doctor Treat Me Fairly?
It depends. Some employers put good and fair doctors on the panel of physicians. Some employers do not. If your employer is picking the doctors on the panel of physicians, they may pick doctors who will make it difficult to get the treatment you need.
You want to get better. You need to treat with a doctor with good ability. You also need a doctor who is fair.
To do this, you need to understand your right to choose your doctor. You also need to be on the lookout for signs that your current doctor is not treating you fairly.
Your main workers compensation doctor (also known as your “authorized treating physician”) has a lot of power in your case. The doctor’s opinion about your ability to work can result in your benefits being stopped or started. The doctor’s opinion about what medical treatment is necessary will definitely how well you recover from your injury.
Make sure you have a good, fair doctor.
How Can I Pick My Own Doctor?
Make sure you get a copy of the panel of physicians. It should look like the document below although it will probably be pink instead of white:
As you will notice, there are spaces for at least six doctors in the bottom half of the panel. You need to get a copy or picture of your employer’s panel of physicians to find out the doctors listed.
Your employer has to follow certain rules when posting the panel of physicians. If your employer follows thee rules, you will be able to pick one of the six (or more) doctors listed on the panel. If your employer does not follow those rules, you will probably be able to pick any doctor you want. You can find out more about selecting and changing doctors in this article.
Find out more
You may have questions. Talking to a workers’ compensation attorney is usually the best way to get answers. We would be happy to talk to you and try to get you some answers.
Setting up a free consultation is the best way to get these answers. It will give you some information about what can be done in your case at no cost to you. Find out more about what information you will learn in a free consultation and how to set on up by reading this article.
Jason Perkins is an attorney who specializes in representing injured workers. He regularly blogs about Georgia’s workers’ compensation system and issues that are important to injured workers and their families.
You can subscribe to his Georgia Workers Compensation channel on YouTube.