Can I Choose My Own Doctor and Still Receive CT Workers’ Compensation Benefits?
Workers’ compensation law requires your employer to pay for any “necessary and appropriate medical treatment” arising from a work-related accident or injury. But does this mean your employer has to pay any medical bills that you present? Or does the employer have a say in who actually provides you with medical care.
Basically, when an injury or illness occurs, your employer will designate a doctor to provide your initial treatment. If you refuse to see the designated doctor for initial treatment, your employer has the right to refuse any further workers’ compensation benefits.
That said, after the initial visit with your employer’s designated doctor, you can choose your own attending physician to continue your treatment. But there are some limits to your choice. If your employer participates in a medical care plan, you must choose a doctor included in that plan. However, if your employer does not participate in any medical plan, you can choose any doctor who is licensed to practice in Connecticut.
But what if you only work in Connecticut but live in a neighboring state? In that scenario, you can receive permission from the Workers’ Compensation Commissioner to receive medical care from a doctor licensed to practice in your home state. But as a general rule, you cannot receive workers’ compensation benefits for out-of-state medical care unless both your employer and the Commissioner agree.
Additional Medical Exams May Be Necessary to Obtain Benefits
Even after you have selected your own doctor to continue providing you with treatment, the Commissioner or your employer may require you to participate in an “Employer/Respondent’s Examination.” This basically means your employer will pay for you to attend a doctor of their choosing to review your injuries. You may request your own doctor be present for this examination, but they must do so at their own expense. If you refuse the examination, you may lose your workers’ compensation benefits, unless you can show the request to submit to the exam in the first place was “unreasonable.”
Separately, you may also be required to undergo a “Commissioner’s Exam.” Such an exam is necessary when there is a sharp difference of opinion between your treating physician and the doctor who conducted the employer/respondent’s exam. To help resolve such a deadlock, the Commissioner will order a third exam by a doctor who is not aligned with either party. Again, if you refuse a Commissioner’s Exam, you risk the loss of workers’ compensation benefits.
Speak with a Connecticut Workers’ Compensation Lawyer Today
At the end of the day, workers’ compensation will pay for your medical care, but you may need to jump through a number of hoops to obtain benefits. A board-certified Stratford workers’ compensation attorney can help guide you through this process and represent your interests before the Workers’ Compensation Commission. So if you have been injured in an on-the-job accident and need legal advice, contact the Morizio Law Firm today to schedule a free consultation.