Choosing a Workers' Compensation Doctor in Chicago
Common Concerns about Using a Company Doctor
For many people, one of the most important decisions they make after a workplace injury involves which doctors to use to treat their injuries. This choice can make the difference between a full, speedy recovery and a long, hard road to wellness. When a worker is injured, it's very common for the employer's insurance company to contact them and tell them to see the company doctor, or a doctor that the company recommends. Some people are very satisfied with their employer's recommended medical providers.
On the other hand, many people who use a company doctor for treatment related to a workers' compensation claim are afraid that the doctor is working more for the company than for them. They worry that the doctor knows "where his bread is buttered." There are concerns that the medical provider is more likely to pursue a course of treatment that saves the workers' comp insurance company money rather than treat them properly, because this will make the insurance company happier and they will send the doctor more patients in the future. With this in mind, many patients who pick their own doctors (without the help of the employer) feel more confident that the doctor's advice is in their best interest.
What Is the 'Two Doctor Rule'?
If you were injured as a result of a car accident or were the victim of medical malpractice at a hospital, you would go to any medical providers you wanted to help you regain your health. You could feel confident that if your personal injury lawyer was able to establish negligence, the guilty party would have to pay you back every dollar that you spent for this medical treatment. You wouldn't concern yourself with which doctors to choose; you would just pick the best that you could find. But if you were injured on the job, the rules are different under the Illinois Worker's Compensation Act.
Every injured worker has a right to choose their own doctor, but under what is known as the "Two Doctor Rule," this right is limited. The rule means that you can pick up to two doctors to treat you, and their medical bills will be later reimbursed if you have a case. In addition, if those doctors directly refer you to other medical specialists, their bills will also be paid. This is sometimes made more complicated if your employer has a preferred provider network of specific doctors.
Preferred Providers and New Illinois Workers' Comp Laws
Under new Illinois workers' comp laws, the Two Doctor Rule may be even more restricted. Some employers now have what is called a "preferred provider network," which is a specific list of doctors to choose from. Although you don't have to agree to use your employer's network, if you choose to opt out, then you can pick only one doctor (and referred specialists). This can greatly reduce your choices when seeking medical attention. If you "break the chain" and go to another doctor who was not referred by your last doctor, you may be out of luck in seeking compensation.
Need Help? Contact a Chicago Workers' Compensation Lawyer
Experienced and knowledgeable legal guidance is the key to making the right medical decisions when injured at work. Call (800) 996-4824 now to speak to a dedicated Chicago work injury attorney at Mitchell S. Sexner & Associates LLC. No fees ever apply unless we are successful on your behalf.