What Is the Role of the Treating Doctor in a Workers’ Compensation Claim?
Treating doctors play a critical role in workers’ compensation cases. They not only treat the injured party but also provide invaluable support for compensation claims. It’s crucial to note that you can only have one treating doctor even if you see multiple medical professionals for your injuries. Since you technically only have one treating doctor in your workers’ compensation case, you need to pick someone who will advocate for you and help you receive the compensation you deserve.
The Treating Doctor’s Role in Workers’ Compensation Cases
The treating doctor fulfills several functions when it comes to workers’ compensation cases. Your treating doctor monitors your condition over time in order to make the best decisions when it comes to compensation and disability. Your treating doctor will help you through your workers’ compensation case and will make important decisions that directly impact your road to recovery and compensation, including:
- Injury diagnostics and treatment: After initially experiencing your work injury, you’ll need to be medically diagnosed by your doctor. Although you may receive initial treatment from a physician, that doesn’t mean that the doctor needs to function as your treating physician. You can change treating doctors. In addition to diagnostics and treatment, a competent treating doctor will guide you toward recovery through additional treatment and any necessary medications.
- Specialist referrals: Your condition may require that you receive additional care from specialists. Your treating doctor may refer you to orthopedists, surgeons, or other medical professionals. Although you may see multiple medical professionals for your condition, it’s important to note that your treating doctor will be the primary source of evidence for receiving workers’ compensation and medical leave.
- Evaluating your ability to continue working: Your treating doctor will determine if you need time away from work or if your ability to work is limited. There may be certain work tasks that you need to take a break from because of your injury. During this stage, your treating doctor may also help you receive temporary disability benefits if you’re out of work because of the injury. Finally, your doctor will also help you determine when it’s safe for you to return to work.
- Determining permanent disability: After you reach the point in which your condition will no longer improve, your treating doctor will determine if you have any permanent disabilities. The degree to which you’re permanently disabled will determine if you receive any permanent disability benefits for your injuries.
- Providing evidence for your claim: Your treating doctor will provide invaluable evidence through medical records that will help you receive the compensation you deserve for your work injuries. With detailed and consistent documentation of medical records, you should have an easier time receiving compensation from insurance companies. Treating doctors often testify for their patients in workers’ compensation hearings and depositions.
Your treating doctor is vitally important for your recovery and your short-term and long-term benefits.
Can You Choose Your Own Workers’ Compensation Doctor in Mississippi?
The ability for victims of a work injury to pick their own treating doctor differs from state to state. Fortunately, people injured at work do have the ability to choose their own treating doctor in Mississippi. You also have the right to change your treating doctor after you’ve already received initial treatment.
For example, you may initially see a doctor that was provided by your employer but you realize a different doctor is better qualified for your situation. In Mississippi, it’s perfectly legal for you to change treating doctors provided that you haven’t received treatment for over six months. However, if you received surgery from your current treating doctor, you can’t switch to a new treating doctor.
Your ability to choose your own treating doctor is crucially important for your recovery and compensation. A doctor that was provided by your employer may try to under evaluate the severity of your injuries. Many employers try to dissuade the use of workers’ compensation because it may increase the cost of their insurance.
When choosing a treating doctor, make sure to pick someone that has your best interest in mind and not your employer’s. You need a doctor that you can trust to evaluate the severity of your work injuries properly and help you receive compensation.
Call Expert Mississippi Workers’ Compensation Attorneys
If you or a loved one have experienced an injury while at work, you need to have proper legal support to help you with your claim. Receiving the compensation owed to you for medical bills, lost wages, permanent disabilities, and pain and suffering can be complex. Fortunately, we can help you through your claim, and we’ll fight to get you the compensation you deserve. Call Lunsford, Baskin, & Priebe at 601-488-3975 or click here for a free case evaluation.
The role of your treating doctor is one of the most important things in your workers’ compensation claim. The judge gives them the most credibility when it comes to their opinion about your permanent impairment rating and work restrictions. Your relationship with your treating physician is one of the most important things. At the end of the day, when you’re saying, “Hey, I’m not as good as I once was,” it’s going to be up to the treating physician to quantify how much you have lost your ability to work.