Does Workers’ Compensation Law Allow for a Change of Doctor?

The workers’ compensation system is designed to protect and assist workers who have suffered injuries or illnesses related to their job duties.

While the system selects a doctor to treat the worker, it’s important to clarify that the worker can change to another doctor. This article will explore the circumstances under which this is possible.

I. Legal Basis for Choosing a Doctor

In California, each worker can choose their doctor to diagnose, treat, and follow up on their condition. However, certain restrictions need to be considered when making this initial choice.

II. Initial Restrictions and Limitations

Depending on state laws and the employer’s workers’ compensation policy, there may be various restrictions when choosing a doctor. For example, there might be a predetermined list of approved healthcare providers from which employees must select one.

III. Employee’s Change of Doctor

IndeedWorkers can request a change of doctor, and depending on the jurisdiction and circumstances, this may be possible. This may occur when seeking a second medical opinion, where the worker is re-evaluated and a new treatment plan is established. If it differs from the original doctor’s plan, there may be a change of doctor. Additionally, if disputes arise regarding the recommended treatment or its effectiveness, a shift in doctor can also be requested so that the patient feels more comfortable and confident in their recovery.

IV. Process for Requesting a Change of Doctor

As a first step, the insurance company must be informed, and the procedures they outline must be followed correctly to avoid complications.

While the law allows for a change of doctor, it can be cumbersome. Therefore, it’s crucial to maintain open communication with your doctor from the outset, sharing your questions and concerns about diagnosis, treatment, duration, and expectations for improvement. This way, you’ll have all the information beforehand to minimize your need for a new doctor in the future.