The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that in 2020, there were over 50,000 accidents and injuries in Virginia workplaces. When you have suffered an injury at work, you likely hope to use workers’ compensation to help you make ends meet while you take the time you need to heal. However, the steps that follow can often be confusing and fraught with uncertainty.
One of the major concerns you may have is if you have to see the doctor your employer recommends when you are seeking workers’ compensation.
Your role in the choice of a doctor
In Virginia, when you get injured at work and are pursuing workers’ compensation, your employer or their insurance carrier typically gives you a panel of three doctors from which you can choose one. This doctor becomes your treating physician for the particular injury.
While you have the freedom to see your own doctor, the costs for the visit and any treatment may not be covered by the workers’ compensation insurance unless your personal doctor is one of the three physicians on the panel provided.
Importance of following guidelines
When seeking workers’ compensation, it is important that you adhere to the guidelines and procedures set out by the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission. One of these rules involves going to the doctor your employer recommends. If you choose to see a doctor not on the panel without approval, you risk workers’ compensation denying your claim.
Why this system is in place
This system exists to ensure that employers can control the medical care costs associated with workers’ compensation claims. However, it is also in place to provide you with medical care that is familiar with treating work-related injuries.
Changing your doctor
If you are unsatisfied with the medical care you are receiving from the doctor you have chosen from the panel, you do have options. You can request to change your doctor, but you must get approval from the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission or from your employer and their insurance carrier.
Workers’ compensation can feel like a complicated, timely process, but knowing how it works and how you can select a doctor, will help ease some of the unease and allow you to focus on healing.