When you’re hurt on the job and you can’t work, the last thing you need is a pile of medical bills. Workers’ compensation is designed to step in after on-the-job injuries and provide money for the medical care you need and for the time you have to take away from work.
Who gets to choose your doctor after a workplace injury?
Every state plays by its own rules, and North Carolina gives your employer or their insurer the ability to decide who provides your medical care. If you need emergency care, you can naturally seek treatment wherever necessary. However, you must notify your employer as soon as possible about your injury and ask them to approve payment for the treatment.
If your condition doesn’t require emergency treatment or you require follow-up care, you must ask your employer where to go for your treatment. Depending on the situation, your employer may either refer you to their in-house physician or they may provide you with a list of doctors from which you can select your provider.
Your employer also has the right to request updates from your physician about your treatment, any limitations or restrictions you may have regarding work, the length of time you may be off work and other pertinent information.
What if your doctor isn’t treating you fairly?
If you’re lucky, your workers’ comp doctor will take your condition to heart and treat you well. What happens, however, if a doctor seems more concerned about getting you back to work (and off the insurance rolls) than getting you back to health?
You can petition the North Carolina Industrial Commission (NCIC) to change physicians if you think that your medical care is substandard — but the odds are high that your employer or the insurance company will object. That’s why it’s always prudent to work with an experienced attorney when you make your request.
If your workers’ comp claim has become problematic, don’t be afraid to seek help from an experienced attorney. You need someone who is on your side from start to finish.