Unfortunately, thousands of workers – in Pennsylvania alone – suffer injuries while on the job. Sometimes these injuries are acute and last only a short period of time, but sometimes they can also result in long-term damage. Workers’ compensation helps to care for these individuals who would otherwise be left in a very difficult situation.
But while workers’ compensation can be extremely helpful, there are many rules and regulations surrounding one’s entitlement to it, leaving many workers with questions. One question often asked is whether an injured worker has the ability to choose his or her own doctor to go see or if the employer makes that decision.
Choosing from the Provider Panel
When a worker is injured on the job, they are provided with only a limited number of doctors from whom they can choose in order to maintain their eligibility for these benefits. Employers may choose to post a provider panel, a list of six doctors from whom the injured worker can choose to receive care.
While an injured employee doesn’t get to choose any doctor he or she wants, they can choose whichever doctor from this last that they want. Additionally, workers have the right to switch from one doctor on the provider panel to another. However, once you reach 90 days from the date of your first visit, you are allotted broader physician options.
Still, there are three exceptions to this limitation on the physicians that an injured worker may see:
1. No Provider Panel
If an employer fails to post a provider panel as required by the state, then the employee has more options. In such a case the injured individual may choose to be seen by any doctor and still maintain their eligibility for workers’ compensation benefits.
2. Emergency Medical Care
Another exception to this limited list of providers is when emergency medical care is required. When a worker is seriously injured and requires immediate treatment, he or she has the right to see any provider – even those not on the provider panel. However, once the situation is no longer emergent, the worker must go back to one of the providers on his or her employer’s list.
3. Surgical Intervention
The last exception to the provider panel limitation is if surgical intervention is required. When an injured worker needs surgery, he or she can choose any surgeon they desire.
When you’ve been involved in a workplace accident that has left you injured, it’s important to understand the rules that you must abide by in order to receive workers’ compensation in order to recover costs for your damages. A knowledgeable and experienced workers’ compensation attorney can help you with this.
The PA Workers’ Compensation Attorneys at Nikolaus & Hohenadel, LLP Can Help
Since workers’ compensation claims can be extremely complicated, it is in your best interest to consult with a qualified Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation attorney.
At Nikolaus & Hohenadel, LLP, we understand the impact that an injury or the loss of your job can have on all aspects of your life. That’s why we’re here to help you. To learn more, or to schedule a consultation, contact us today!