If you have been injured while working in Atlanta, you will need to receive medical care for your injuries. You want to make sure you have good care so you have your best chance at a full recovery. Any non-emergency medical care received for a workers’ compensation claim in Georgia must be provided by an approved workers’ compensation medical provider. If you are needing emergency medical care, you should immediately go to the nearest medical facility capable of treating your injury or condition. Atlanta employers are required to maintain a list of approved medical providers to take care of those who have been hurt in workplace accidents. This list is to be made readily available to you in the event that you are injured on the job.
Usually, this approved list is posted in the employee break room or some other visible area. There are times, however, when the employer might not properly maintain the list or display it as it should be. The list has to include specific providers, such as orthopedic surgeons and minority physicians so, regardless of the injury, you can get the care that you need. Your ability to work has to be restricted by a physician. If you are in pain and feel unable to work, you won’t receive benefits for just calling in on your own. Your physician plays an important role in the outcome of your workers’ compensation claim.
With most employers, you must see a physician that is on the approved list. You should consult with an experienced Atlanta workers’ compensation lawyer to make sure you are seeing a doctor who is on the approved list. In some cases, there are options available that allow the injured worker to see a different physician or the doctor of their choice. However, that is dependent on the situation and the nature of the injury and what physicians are made available to you on the preferred list. If you need to see a specialist that is not included on the list, a work injury attorney can help ensure you get the care that you need through your workers’ compensation benefits.
Do I Have to Pay for My Medical Care After an Atlanta Workplace Injury?
If you have been hurt on the job in Atlanta, you are entitled to medical care to take care of your injury without you having any co-pays or deductibles. State law does give your employer and their workers’ compensation insurance company the rights to control which physicians you can see for treatment. Your employer is required to post a list of treating physicians in an easily accessible location. Your employer is also required to explain your rights and the procedure for use of the panel physicians in the event you are injured on the job.
If your employer does not have a posted panel or if that posted panel is defective or incomplete or if your employer does not properly explain your rights regarding your medical care for your work injury, you have the right to use any physician that you choose regardless of whether or not he or she is on your employer’s posted panel. In those cases, your employer and its insurance provider will still be responsible for the medical bills incurred from that medical treatment. If there is a valid panel and you are not happy with the physician that you are seeing, you have the right to make the change to any other physician on the panel. If you want to change doctors again after that first change, you will need to file a petition with the State Board of Workers’ Compensation or get consent from your employer or their insurance provider.
Your treating doctor can make referrals to any other physicians that you might need for care for your work-related injury. That physician is responsible for referrals for testing, physical therapy, counseling, surgery, and any other services you might need to treat your workplace injury. Your treating physician can make sure you get the care that you need when you need it so you can make a recovery from your job accident and the injuries that you suffered as a result.
What Does the Panel of Physicians Look Like for Atlanta Workers’ Compensation?
The traditional Georgia workers’ compensation panel of physicians must have at least six physicians or six professional physician associations that are not affiliated with each other. The list cannot have more than two industrial clinics on it and must have at least one orthopedic physician included. The list might be printed in either black ink or blue ink and have the words “Official Notice” at the top in bold letters. A conformed panel of physicians must have at least 10 doctors listed and that list must include a chiropractor and a general surgeon.
Your employer could be a member of a managed care organization for workers’ compensation, which is certified by the Georgia State Board. There might not be a traditional or conformed panel, but instead, a notice that indicates details about the managed care board as well as a 24-hour toll-free number that can be called to get medical care around the clock. Your employer cannot restrict your right to choose any physician on the posted panel of physicians. For accidents that occurred on or after July 1, 2013, you can receive medical care for up to 400 weeks from the date of the accident. If the injury is labeled “catastrophic,” you can get medical care for life.
Consult with an Atlanta Attorney to Discuss Your Workers’ Compensation Claim
If you have suffered a workplace injury in Atlanta, you should consult with an experienced workers’ compensation attorney. The Bader Law Firm has helped countless Georgia workers who have been injured on the job get the workers’ compensation benefits that they are entitled to receive. Because workers’ compensation claims can be complicated and sometimes they are denied, you should always get an experienced accident injury lawyer to represent you and help you with your claim. Workers’ compensation attorneys do not get paid until you get a settlement, so you have no up front costs or nothing to lose. Schedule a free case evaluation today.
Seth Bader is an Auto accident, Workers Compensation and Personal Injury Attorney who practices in Atlanta, Rome, Savannah, Norcross, Carrollton, Georgia. He graduated from Florida State University College of Law, and has been practicing law for 14 years. Seth Bader believes in fighting for the injured. Learn more about his experience by clicking here.