An injury can occur at work in an instant, or it may happen over a period of time. Regardless of how it happens, if you get hurt while you are at work, you need to visit the doctor as soon as possible. Many people wonder whether they are supposed to see their own doctor, visit the emergency room, or choose a different doctor. The Georgia State Board of Workers’ Compensation oversees the process of workers’ compensation throughout the state. There are specific rules and procedures in place that your employer must use when you report a workers’ compensation injury.
Choose from a Panel of Physicians
Your employer is required to provide you with a panel of at least six qualified doctors or a Managed Care Organization (MCO) to choose a physician. In general, you are required to see one of the doctors provided under these terms. Very often, your employer’s insurance company provides you with a list of providers who are part of their network. This works in a manner similar to typical health care from your regular provider.
Once you choose a doctor, he or she is known as your authorized treating physician or ATP. You may receive treatment from an ATP for up to 400 weeks for injuries that are not deemed catastrophic. The doctors in the panel must be located within 50 miles of your job site. The costs associated with medical care are covered through workers’ compensation and you should not have to pay for any of these expenses out-of-pocket.
Can I Visit My Own Physician?
You may be tempted to utilize your own doctor after you suffer an on-the-job injury. After all, your doctor already knows you and your medical history and you can easily get an appointment. However, be aware that you must follow the procedures that are in place regarding workers’ compensation injuries. If you fail to follow the rules and visit your own doctor, your workers’ compensation claim could easily be denied. When you utilize your own doctor, the insurance company does not need to approve benefits. If you need a specialist, your ATP will provide you with a referral. Discuss the matter with an Atlanta workers’ compensation attorney for guidance throughout the process.
Changing Your Authorized Treating Physician
The law recognizes that you may not always be completely happy with your ATP. For this reason, you are allowed to change your physician once. You can make a change of physician without prior approval one time during your claim. You must choose another doctor from the panel or network of physicians. Under some circumstances, you may be able to make subsequent changes to your physician. You must receive prior approval for such a request. In some instances, you may be allowed to get an opinion from your own doctor. Such is the case when you need to obtain an independent medical examination (IME).
Working with physicians following a workers’ compensation injury can be tricky. If you make a mistake you could jeopardize your benefits. Contact a knowledgeable Atlanta workers’ compensation attorney to ensure that you get the benefits you deserve. Contact the Bader Scott Injury Lawyers for a free case review.
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.