Can You Choose Your Own Doctor for a Work-Related Injury When Seeking Workers’ Compensation?
If you sustained a work-related injury, you might wonder, “Can I go to my own doctor to seek medical attention?” If you do so, would you still be eligible to collect workers’ compensation benefits through your employer’s insurance? The answer is, “it depends.”
Can You Choose Your Own Physician for an On-the-Job Injury?
In Pennsylvania, you can choose your own doctor to seek medical attention after a work-related injury unless all of the following is true:
- Your employer accepted your workers’ compensation claim;
- There is a poster containing a list of at least six designated medical professionals found at your place of employment;
- Your employer notified you, in writing, that you are required to seek treatment from one of their designated healthcare providers; and
- You signed an acknowledgment of the list containing at least six designated physicians (a) when you were hired and (b) after you sustained your on-the-job injury.
If all of the above-mentioned things are true, you must seek treatment from one of your employer’s designated healthcare providers if you wish to have the Employer pay all your medical bills. You can still be entitled to WC benefits even if you treat with a non designated healthcare provider though you may be responsible for paying for the medical treatment during the first 90 days. .
When Can You Go to Your Own Doctor for a Work-Related Injury?
If your employer provided you with a list of designated healthcare providers, you are free to choose anyone on the list. It is illegal for your employer to force you to seek medical treatment from a particular medical professional on the list. Also, your employer cannot prevent you from switching from one physician on the list to another if you wish to do so.
In Pennsylvania, an injured worker is limited by their employer’s list of healthcare providers for 90 days after the date of their first visit. After 90 days, you can treat your injury or illness with any doctor of your choice.
If your employer does not do all of the things mentioned above, their workers’ comp insurance provider must cover all reasonable expenses related to your medical treatment even if you go to your own doctor following the workplace accident. However, your employer’s insurer may still attempt to deny your workers’ comp claim if the treatment was not:
- Reasonable or Necessary (By filing a Utilization Review)
- Related to work.
Can You Get a Second Opinion in My Workers’ Compensation Case?
If you visit one of the healthcare providers on your employer’s list and they recommend surgery or another medical treatment within the first 90 days of your injury, you may wonder whether you can get a second opinion.
Will you remain eligible for workers’ compensation if you get a second opinion from your own doctor in Pennsylvania? If the second opinion confirms that you need to undergo surgery or treatment recommended by the panel doctor, the procedure must be performed by one of the healthcare providers on your employer’s list if done during the first 90 day period. Your employer is required to pay for the second opinion.
If the 90 days have expired, you can go to your own doctor to perform the recommended medical procedure after getting a second opinion. If you have questions about your eligibility for workers’ compensation benefits after a work-related injury in Pennsylvania, schedule a consultation with one of our attorneys at Ira H. Weinstock, P.C. Contact our Harrisburg workers’ compensation lawyer to discuss your particular case. Call at 717-238-1657.