If you were hurt in a workplace accident or suffer from a work-related illness, your first priorities are getting healthy and returning to work as quickly as possible. Obviously, achieving these goals is only possible when you receive quality medical treatment, starting with an accurate diagnosis of your medical condition, assessment of your prognosis, and a plan of care for recovery. However, under the circumstances, you must keep in mind Virginia’s workers’ compensation statute on duty to furnish medical attention. You have little choice in selecting a treating physician in most cases since the law puts this power squarely in the hands of your employer.
As such, there are no easy answers when asking whether you get to pick your doctor in a workers’ comp claim. Instead, you should trust a Virginia workers’ compensation attorney to offer specific information. However, some answers to other frequently asked questions may help you understand the basics.
How do I know where to go for medical care? Because treatment for a work-related injury is in your employer’s hands, you can find out the details by reporting your medical condition to your employer. You have 30 days under state law, but you should notify the company as soon as possible. It enables you to then obtain information on authorized treating physicians you can see for diagnosis and treatment.
Are there any exceptions to the rule allowing my employer to choose my doctor? Yes, there are two important exceptions to note:
What if I do not trust my employer’s authorized treating physician? A positive patient-doctor relationship is key to the recovery process, so concerns about the health care provider could hinder healing. If you believe that the authorized treating physician is not delivering quality care or does not have your best interests in mind, you may have options to seek treatment from another provider. Still, it is likely that you will need to work with someone on your employer’s list of approved doctors.
Should I be concerned about seeing my own physician for a pre-existing condition? If you were already seeking care for a prior injury or illness, the circumstances might affect your rights under Virginia workers’ comp laws. Many pre-existing health issues will not be covered, though you may still qualify for benefits if your ailment was worsened by work conditions.
For more information that is custom-tailored to your specific situation, please call Hampton Injury Law PLC. We can set up a case evaluation with a knowledgeable workers’ compensation attorney in Virginia. After we review your circumstances, our team can also guide you through the legal process and explain whether you may be able to pick your own doctor in a workers’ comp claim.