Choosing a Doctor
Work Injury Lawyers Helping Victims in Wheaton and Schaumburg
If you have been injured in the workplace, you have the right to receive medical treatment under the Illinois workers’ compensation program. The Workers’ Compensation Act is a complex statute that can be difficult to understand, which is why it is important to speak to a knowledgeable Wheaton or Schaumburg workers’ compensation attorney who can help you understand your rights and options when it comes to choosing a doctor. At Therman Law Offices, we understand the nuances of this area of law and can help you advocate for the benefits that you deserve for your harm.
Choosing a Doctor in Illinois
Workers’ compensation is a system designed to compensate workers who have been injured or become ill due to an on-the-job incident. Employees in this situation often require medical care and need to take time off from work to recover. As a result, depending on the nature and extent of the injury, workers’ compensation benefits provide compensation for medical expenses, a portion of lost wages, and disability. When it comes to medical expenses, the insurance company needs to pay for all reasonable medical care related to your injury.
While getting injured on the job is a possibility in many professions, no one expects that it will happen to them. When you are injured at the workplace, you want to go to a doctor whom you can trust to provide competent care. Fortunately, in Illinois, injured workers are allowed to choose their own doctors under a rule commonly known as the “Two Doctor Rule.” This rule permits an injured worker to initially choose two doctors to see. These doctors can then refer the worker to other health care providers or specialists who may be appropriate in the case.
Only the first two doctors whom an injured employee chooses, and the doctors to whom those initial two doctors refer the employee, are covered under workers’ compensation. In other words, if an injured employee decides to consult a third doctor besides the first two and one who was not referred by one of the first two, this will not be covered under workers’ compensation. Here are a few additional points of clarification of which you should be aware:
- An emergency room doctor is never considered as an initial doctor for the purposes of the Two Doctor Rule;
- A doctor on the work premises, such as at a warehouse where the injury occurred, will almost never be considered an initial doctor; and
- Doctors at company clinics are sometimes considered an initial choice, depending on the degree of choice that the injured employee has in going to see that doctor.
There are certain policy reasons for allowing injured workers to see doctors of their own choosing. There are some concerns that choosing a doctor whom the employer provides could lead to the doctor downplaying the seriousness of the injury to reduce or avoid paying out benefits to the employee.
It is important to note that while you can generally see any doctor whom you choose for injuries related to a workplace accident, your employer has the right to ask for an independent medical examination (IME) to confirm your injury or illness. The employer is required to pay for this exam. Generally, insurance companies will request that you submit to an IME if there is a question or concern about the compensability of your claim.
Discuss Your Situation with a Workers’ Compensation Lawyer in Schaumburg or Wheaton