One important thing to know after a work comp injury is who gets to pick your treating doctor. The Florida Workers’ Compensation law states that in almost all situations, the work comp carrier gets to pick your doctor. However, there are two situations where the injured worker may be entitled to pick their treating doctor. This article will focus on these two opportunities.
Unfortunately, there are times when the work comp carrier refuses to provide initial medical care. In these circumstances, the injured worker can select their doctor under the “self-help” provision found in Florida Statute 440.13(2)(c). This statute states that:
(c) If the employer fails to provide initial treatment or care required by this section after request by the injured employee, the employee may obtain such initial treatment at the expense of the employer, if the initial treatment or care is compensable and medically necessary and is in accordance with established practice parameters and protocols of treatment as provided for in this chapter.
However, there are requirements that must be followed before the “self-help” provision applies. The statute requires the work comp claimant to prove he or she (1) made a specific request for care, (2) allowed the workers compensation carrier a reasonable time to respond, and (3) obtained care that was compensable, reasonable, and medically necessary. These three steps (particularly step 3) can sometimes be difficult to prove. No work comp claimant should try to do with without a work comp attorney on their side.
Change of Doctor
Under Florida Workers’ Compensation law, an injured employee is entitled to a one-time change of doctor. The work comp adjuster gets to pick this one-time change of doctor. However, if they fail to do so, the injured work may be entitled to pick the one-time change of doctor. Florida Statute 440.15(2)(f) states:
If the carrier fails to provide a change of physician as requested by the employee, the employee may select the physician and such physician shall be considered authorized if the treatment being provided is compensable and medically necessary.
Again, a specific request for a change of doctor is needed and the workers’ compensation carrier must be given a reasonable time to respond. For these reasons, no work comp claimant should try to do this without a work comp attorney on their side.
In conclusion, although the right to choose your own treating doctor is taken away from the injured worker through the work comp statute, there are still a few ways to get that right back.
Personal Injury Attorney Matthew Noyes represents those injured in workers’ compensation claims and other types of personal injury matters. He is a named partner at the Tampa Bay law firm of Perenich Caulfield Avril Noyes – one of the oldest personal injury law firms in Pinellas County. Call Attorney Matthew Noyes now at 727-796-8282 or complete the form on this page or simply click here to schedule a free case consultation.