Although Choosing Your Doctor Seems a Very Straightforward Decision, It is Different in a Workers’ Compensation Case in New Jersey
Workers’ Compensation insurance is an insurance policy that most New Jersey employers are required to carry in order to properly protect their employees from losing out on income if they are injured on the job or performing a work duty.
In order to have a successful claim for workers’ compensation, the claimant must have been an employee of the policyholder and the employee must have been injured in the course of employment. In order to determine this, the claimant must seek medical attention right away. However, after their initial meeting with a medical professional, the claimant usually has to seek medical attention from a predetermined medical professional that the policyholder has chosen.
What Rights Do Employers Have When Choosing a Doctor for Your Work Injury in NJ?
Even though the law says that we all have the right to seek medical treatment from a medical professional of our choosing, when we file a workers’ compensation claim, the law states that we must use a doctor chosen by the company in order to continue our care.
If we do not oblige with New Jersey state law and decide to continue our treatment with a medical professional of our choosing, then we may be liable for any medical expenses that accrue as a result. This can also jeopardize our workers’ compensation claim, and we will not be justly compensated for missing any work as a result of our work-related injury.
Exceptions for Choosing Your Own Doctor if You Have been Injured on the Job in NJ
There are several exceptions in which you may be able to choose your own medical professional to seek treatment from when treating an injury related to a workers’ compensation claim. For instance, if your employer does not provide one or refer you, in a timely manner, you may be able to choose your own doctor to seek continued treatment from. This is rarely the case, and if you do choose a doctor for continued treatment, it is likely that you would not continue seeing that doctor for the duration of your rehabilitation.
Secondly, if your employer refuses to provide you with medical treatment, you are then able to choose your own doctor. This is usually the case if your workers’ compensation claim is initially denied. If your claim is initially denied, it is of the utmost importance that you contact an experienced workers’ compensation attorney immediately. During the time of the denial, you can choose to see your own doctor, but once the claim is approved, it is most likely the case that you will have to see a doctor that is designated by the company or your employer.
Can I Get a Second Opinion if I Disagree with the Company Doctor’s Diagnosis?
You are allowed to seek a second opinion, but you may have to do so at your own expense. Nowhere in the workers’ compensation laws of New Jersey does it mandate that a company, or employer, provide a second opinion of your injury, diagnosis, and/or treatment. You are more than welcomed to consider a second opinion but it will not be through your employer’s workers’ compensation policy.
If you want a second opinion and believe you need a second opinion, it is wise to first consult with a workers’ compensation lawyer in order to determine the validity of your claim. Seeking a second opinion from a medical professional will not be cheap, and it may be prudent to first determine if it would be worth it.
Options if You Disagree with the Doctor Appointed by the Employer
There are not many options for you if you do not like the company’s pre-designated medical professional. However, if you consult with a workers’ compensation attorney, they can help you file an appeal in order to switch doctors. The argument put forth in your appeal will most likely be that you are not receiving adequate medical attention, care, and/or treatment. The courts will have to then decide if switching doctors is in your best interest as it relates to the workers’ compensation claim.
However, when filing an appeal to switch doctors, you must ensure that you have cooperated with your treatment and what your doctor tells you up until that point 100%. It is hard to show that you did not receive adequate medical attention if you did not keep appointments or acted contrary to the doctor’s advice.
Contact an Experienced Princeton Worker’s Compensation Lawyer Who Can Answer Your Questions Regarding Medical Attention
This is a very specific area of law within the realm of workers’ compensation. Only the most experienced workers’ compensation attorneys understand what it takes to navigate your right to choose your own medical care. If you are unhappy with the employer’s designation of medical professional, it is wise to seek an experienced professional to help change this.
Our skilled New Jersey workers’ compensation lawyers at Kamensky, Cohen & Riechelson assist clients with all aspects of their claims for injuries and conditions resulting in the workplace or in connection with their employment. For a free consultation and additional answers regarding your workers’ comp case in Lawrence, Hamilton, Trenton, Ewing, Princeton, Robbinsville, East Windsor, Lambertville, and other towns in Mercer County and around New Jersey. Call (609) 528-2596 or contact us online, and a staff member will help you connect with an attorney for further guidance.