When you’re injured on the job, naturally, you need to report the incident to your boss and file a workers’ compensation claim.
How, though, do you obtain the medical treatment you need?
In North Carolina, employers control your choices
You probably have your own physician, but you can’t turn to that doctor for your treatment under workers’ comp unless they happen to be on your employer’s list of preferred providers.
If they aren’t, you’re stuck picking one of the doctors on the list you’re given. While that’s some choice, it certainly isn’t much of one. If you choose to go elsewhere, however, you have to pay your own bills.
What if you don’t trust the doctor you’re seeing through workers’ comp?
Your workers’ comp physician has a lot of power. Their report may ultimately determine what benefits you get, what medical treatment you receive, which accommodations are made so you can return to work and when you go back to the job.
If you don’t believe that the doctor has your best interests at heart (and they may not), you can ask for a second opinion by a doctor of your choosing, at your employer’s expense.
Under the workers’ comp statute, you must ask for this in writing. If your request is denied, you can appeal the issue to the Industrial Commission.
You can also ask to change physicians, but you can only do so if the Industrial Commission agrees that a “preponderance of the evidence” shows the switch is necessary
What can you do if your employer is treating you unfairly?
If you’re struggling to get fair treatment under workers’ comp, you aren’t alone. An experienced attorney can help you protect your interests and advocate for you when things go wrong.