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Can I Use My Own Doctor for a Work-Related Injury?

If you are injured at work, you are eligible to file for workers’ compensation benefits. In most cases, this will involve meeting with a doctor or another medical professional to verify your injuries and assess their seriousness.

Most of the time, the doctor an employee sees is the one employed by or contracted with their employer’s insurance company. For many employees, this can be an uncomfortable experience. Not only do employees lack the rapport that they may have built with their own doctors, but they may also doubt the qualifications of their employer’s doctor over their own. Even worse, employees worry that the doctor is inclined to put their employer’s interests above their own.

All of these reasons considered, it’s no wonder why so many people wonder if they can use their own doctors for workers’ comp claims.

Predesignating Your Preferred Doctors

Several states don’t allow employees to use their own doctors under any circumstance, but California isn’t one of them. In this state, employees can see their regular doctors for work-related injuries as long as they predesignate those medical professionals.

Predesignating must occur before the injury occurs and it must be done in writing. If an employee is injured but never provided a written predesignation preferring their own doctor, then they are not entitled to see that medical professional before their employer’s.

The following types of doctors can be predesignated if they are the primary care physician:

  • General practitioner
  • Internist
  • Pediatrician
  • Obstetrician-gynecologist
  • Family practitioner

Medical groups can also be predesignated as long as they are composed of licensed doctors or doctors of osteopathy; offer and coordinate primary care and specialty care; primarily treat medical conditions unrelated to work.

Can Anyone Predesignate a Doctor?

Not all employees can predesignate doctors for workers’ comp injuries. Only employees who have health care coverage for medical conditions unrelated to work can predesignate their doctors. The right to do so doesn’t extend beyond this limitation.

Fighting for Your Workers’ Comp Benefits

If you are dealing with a legal issue concerning your workers’ compensation benefits claim, reach out to Smolich and Smolich for assistance. With assistance from our attorneys, you can fight for a better future after your work-related injury.

Contact Smolich and Smolich online now to learn more.