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Can I Choose My Own Workers’ Compensation Doctor?

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Photo of a patient on crutches and a doctor, talking in a hospital hallway.

If you've been injured on the job or have suffered an illness related to your work conditions, you may be wondering if you have the ability to choose your own doctor for treatment. Many people assume that they can pick any physician they want, but the reality is a bit more complicated.

In North Carolina, the employer holds the right to select the worker's compensation doctor who oversees an employee's medical care. However, if you're new to this area of law and uncertain about the specifics of doctor choice in workers' compensation cases, this post will give you a clear understanding of what your options are.

Understanding Your Rights

As mentioned, North Carolina law puts the ultimate responsibility for selecting the doctor in the hands of the employer. The Workers' Compensation Act stipulates that your employer or their workers’ compensation insurance carrier has the power to choose your medical provider. This not only includes the initial treatment but also any additional specialists that are necessary for your continued care.

In some cases, employees may be given the option to choose from several predetermined doctors selected by their employer. This is often done to help ensure that the worker is comfortable with the doctor's medical knowledge and bedside manner. However, even in these scenarios, the employer maintains the final say over which doctor the employee ultimately sees for treatment.

Why Can’t You Choose Your Own Doctor?

The primary reason for allowing the employer to select the doctor is to prevent any unnecessary medical expenses that could potentially arise from an employee choosing a more expensive physician.

Are There Exceptions?

Yes, there are two primary exceptions to seeing your employer’s physician(s) of choice:

  • Emergency Situations: In emergency situations where an injured worker needs immediate medical attention, employees are often taken to the nearest hospital for care.
  • Inadequate Care Provided: If an injured worker can establish that an authorized physician is not providing an adequate level of medical care, that worker may be able to seek care from another medical professional. In such cases, an attorney or workers’ compensation specialist will be able to assist in filing the necessary paperwork to contest the initial selection.

Our Workers' Compensation Lawyers Will Fight For You

If you're in North Carolina and have a workplace injury or work-related illness, there's a high likelihood that your employer or their insurance carrier will select your treating physician.

However, the law allows for a limited opportunity to dispute the chosen medical provider. Working with an attorney or workers' compensation specialist can be invaluable in these situations, providing guidance and pursuing the best options for the injured employee.

To learn more about your rights or to get assistance for your North Carolina workers’ compensation case, speak with an experienced workers’ compensation attorney at Lanier Law Group, P.A.. Contact us online or call (855) 757-4204 to request your free initial consultation. Se habla español.

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