Gary M. Kazin
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Can I choose my doctor if I'm injured at work?

Getting injured at work can shake your world. You may worry if you'll be able to keep working and provide for your family. You may wonder what your future will look like if this condition hinders you long-term. An important piece of recovery, and injury compensation, is the doctor you see.

In Georgia, you do have some choice in the matter but you cannot choose any doctor out there. You are, however, covered by law. Here is what your employer must provide you and the power you have in medical choice after an injury.

Injuries your employer must cover

All employers in Georgia must have workers' compensation insurance to cover on-the-job injuries. These injuries could include back, knee or shoulder injuries, lung problems, hearing loss, carpal tunnel, and more. If you are injured at work in any way, you may be covered by your employer. However, you should never talk to the insurance company without an attorney.

Workers' compensation insurance should cover all doctor and hospital bills that are related to your workplace injury. It should also cover any therapy, prescriptions, or travel expenses related to your injury.

Choosing a doctor after a workplace injury

In Georgia, you usually cannot use your usual doctor to treat you for a workplace injury. Instead, your employer has to post a panel of at least six different doctors in a very accessible place. At least one must be an orthopedic physician and one must be a minority doctor, if possible. You may choose from any of the doctors that your employer lists.

Your employer also has to make the name of their Workers' Compensation Managed Care Organization available and easy to access. This includes a 24-hour toll-free phone number that you can call to receive assistance with choosing and meeting a physician.

What if I don't like the doctor I choose?

The doctor who treats you after a workplace injury is very important. They cannot make decisions about your benefits, but their medical advice and diagnoses can be factors in your workers' compensation case and showing the scope of your injury. It's important to choose a doctor who has the expertise to help you recover properly and show accurate medical accounts of your condition and needs.

If you are not receiving proper care or you aren't satisfied with your doctor, you have the right to pick a new doctor from your employer's panel. It's important for the new doctor to complete any paperwork showing that you are switching physicians. You should always make sure you are satisfied with your medical care, so consider switching if you are not satisfied with your workplace injury doctor.

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