Can I See My Own Doctor?

May 7, 2013

In Pennsylvania, workers’ compensation is intended to help you gain and pay for good medical treatment when you are injured or made ill on the job. The doctor or health care group you see is essential to your diagnosis, recovery and receipt of benefits from workers comp. Understanding your choice of doctors after a work-related injury is important to your claim and your financial stability.

Injury and illness is unique to each individual. A responsible physician understands injury to one patient is not the same as the next. As a Berks County worker’s comp attorney, I am frequently asked by my clients if they can see their own doctor. The answer is it depends.

In Pennsylvania, regulations allow your employer to provide you a panel of health care providers to choose among for treatment within the first 90 days after your accident or discovery of your illness. Among that list must be at least three physicians along with other care providers.

While some employers do not control your choice of health care providers in the first 90 days after an injury, many do. As a result, a doctor referred by your employer may examine you after your injury and make a finding favorable to your employer or their insurance company. You may not be properly evaluated or tested and may be advised to return to work sooner than you are able.

In these instances, or when a specialized medical opinion is needed but not available from the physician panel provided by your employer, getting good legal advice prior to visiting a company doctor is essential

Medical response to an injury or illness is the primary reason for workers’ compensation. Make sure you get the treatment — and the legal counsel — you need.