Company Doctors In Workers’ Compensation Cases

If you get injured on the job, more than likely your employer sent you to a doctor to get examined and to receive initial treatment for your injuries. Many injured workers are obviously thankful for what they see as their employer extending help to them and looking out for their employees. However, as so often occurs things are not always what they appear. What could be wrong with seeing a doctor? Doctors help people and should be trusted.

While this is usually true there are certain situations in which you may want to carefully consider which doctor and medical facility you treat at and what a doctor’s interests in treating you are. When you suffer an injury at work is one such occasion.

Many workers’ compensation insurance companies and employers have certain doctors that they send their employees too when they suffer an on the job injury. What could be so wrong with seeing a doctor selected by the insurance company or the employer? After all, you got hurt on the job. They are trying to help you get better by sending you to a doctor. Right? The problem that comes up when treating with an insurance company doctor is that often times the majority of the doctor’s income for his practice comes from the insurance company and employer sending their injured workforce to them and paying for medical services. This creates an inherent conflict of interest between the doctor’s financial interests of his practice and your medical care.

It is possible that the insurance company doctor will downplay the nature and severity of your injuries, returning you to work with limited restrictions or full duty before you are really healthy enough to go back to work. After all, the sooner you are back to work the sooner you can start making money for your employer again, and the sooner the insurance company can wrap up your medical treatment. It could be that the company doctor will forego medically appropriate diagnostic testing such as an MRI, due to the expense and in order to limit the type of injury that is diagnosed. Thereby again limiting the insurance company’s financial liability for medical care, and impeding or possibly stopping altogether treatment for the full injuries that you received on the job.

One of the most common issues that injured workers contact us with are problems regarding their medical treatment. The injured workers will contact us with serious concerns about their treatment because they are not getting better, or that they are actually getting worse, and that the doctor is not requesting any kind of diagnostic testing to see what is going on despite their repeated complaints of pain.

One particular client comes to mind. He contacted our firm hardly able to get out of bed due to the excruciating pain in his back. He had been treating with a company doctor that his employer and insurance company sent him to for several months, and despite several months of treatment he was still in extreme pain, and the doctors had only done some minor physical therapy, not only that they had told him that there was nothing wrong with him but a minor back strain and returned him to work full duty. Our firm quickly got his medical records, and sent him to another doctor, who requested and obtained an MRI that showed severe disc herniation’s at several disc locations in his lumbar spine that required surgery.

With our firm and his new doctor’s assistance he managed to have the surgery, receive income benefits for his time off of work while he went through the surgical process and post-operative rehabilitation. The client made a full recovery, and was able to return to work and a full life without any further back problems. Those conditions never would have been treated by the insurance company doctor and he would likely still be in pain.

The insurance company and employer will not tell you that you have a right to choose your medical provider, and often times the insurance company makes the process to change treating doctor’s complicated by using a healthcare network or not providing the correct forms to file with the Texas Division of Workers’ Compensation to request a treating doctor change.

The experienced attorneys at Abbott & Associates know how important it is to have a doctor that will fight for the appropriate medical care and treatment, and that will go to bat for your interests not the interests of the insurance company and employer. You do not have to navigate this complicated and confusing system alone. Contact our office today if you are concerned about the quality and type of medical care you are receiving for your work related injury and let our Attorneys and staff help you get the medical care that you need, with a doctor that will fight for your best interests.

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Abbott & Associates attorneys are licensed only in the state of Texas unless otherwise indicated in the biographical section. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. We consider employment in another State only in association with co-counsel licensed in that State. References to laws are limited to federal and State of Texas law.