Choosing a medical provider is a very personal decision. Most people put a lot of time and effort into researching the right primary care physician for them. Once a relationship is established, it’s common for an injured worker to see that doctor for years—even decades.
Unfortunately, most Colorado workers don’t get that option when it comes to an injury at work. The state’s law limits their freedom to receive treatment from their personal doctor for a workers’ compensation claim.
Here’s what you need to know about finding a doctor after you’ve been injured on the job.
Employers Select Doctors In Colorado Workers’ Comp Cases
When an employee suffers from an on-the-job injury, their employer is often the one who picks the physician. Some companies let their employees choose from a list of providers. However, in Colorado, employers can select a doctor to treat their injured employees. Sometimes, this doctor is chosen before the injury; other times this choice occurs after the injury has happened.
It’s worth noting that some employers in Colorado do allow injured employees to select their own doctor. It’s generally understood that you are allowed to choose your own doctor if your employer waives their right to select a doctor for you. You’ll need to speak with your company’s HR representative to learn their policies, as well as talk to an experienced workers’ comp attorney.
Can Your Employer’s Insurance Company Choose Your Doctor?
Once the insurance claim is filed, your employer’s insurance company may elect to send you to another doctor to examine your injury and come up with a second opinion. Be sure to attend this appointment or else the insurance company could use your absence as a reason to deny your claim.
In an emergency, many things are totally out of your control. Choosing the “best” physician probably won’t be your first thought if you’re in the emergency room. Don’t worry: workers’ compensation still covers the cost of ER visits and emergency care, regardless of whether or not the doctor is an approved physician.
Requesting A Switch
It’s normal to worry if you’re receiving the proper care and treatment. If you believe your care is inadequate, Colorado law lets you get a Division Independent Medical Examiner (DIME). This means you have the right to get a second opinion from another doctor.
However, you can’t pick just any medical provider to be your DIME. All parties—including the injured workers, their employer, and the workers’ compensation insurer—must agree on a doctor. For this reason (among others), it’s helpful to have a Colorado attorney on your side, as it’s common for disputes to arise in these instances.
Always Be Open And Honest About Your Injury
Regardless of what doctor you ultimately see, you should be open and honest about any symptoms you’re experiencing. Even a minor detail can make a vital difference in your diagnosis and treatment.
It’s also important to be as open and honest with your attorney since they are there to help answer questions about your injury or workers’ compensation claim. Their focus is on making sure you receive fair compensation, which includes choosing the best workers’ compensation doctor.