The most important right in your workers’ compensation case is your right to medical care. With this right, your employer /carrier has to foot your medical bill until you have become fit. If it is a long-term illness, they would take care of the financing for the rest of your life.
Medical care is of two main types, “active” and “supportive”. Active care is the medical care provided to you while your case is still active in order to cover the treatment to restore you close to your pre-injury status. When you have gotten to the maximum improvement status, your condition would be treated as stationary. This is where supportive care comes in. with supportive care; the medical care aims to maintain your stationary health status.
On a general note, a worker can make use of any doctor of his choice in order to treat an injury. However, there are few exceptions to this.
The first is in the case of self-insurers. Self-insurers are companies that have fulfilled certain legal obligations that allow them to provide their own doctors to their workers. A good example of this is huge mining corporations that have their special clinics for their workers. If your company is a self-insurer, you have to make use of the doctors provided by your employers. The exception to this is employees of the state of Arizona and other political subdivisions of the state.
The other exception to your choice of doctors is in the case of treating doctor. This occurs when the employer
recommends a doctor and that doctor has treated the ailment for quite some time. If you are wondering whether an employer can force you to make use of a specific doctor, a worker compensations lawyer would help you in that regard.
In most instances, the physicians in charge of treatment have taken care of all ICA paperwork regarding approval for the treatment. However, if a worker is about to get a medical procedure such as a surgery, he would need to inform his employer before taking the treatment. The only time this is not applicable is in cases of a true emergency that makes informing the employer impracticable. If you fail to give notice of a treatment, even if the treatment relates to the injury in question, could lead to a worker having to pay the bills himself.
If you want to switch from your treating physician to another doctor, you need to follow the steps provided by the ICA. On the other hand, you can change doctors if your employer/carrier agrees to it. If neither the ICA nor your employer agrees to it, changing doctors is quite impossible.
Medical care under workers compensation is an area that is quite broad and has its fair share of complexities. In order to avoid having to make avoidable errors, it would be best to have workers’ compensation attorney to guide you every step of the way.
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