If you were hurt at work in Pennsylvania, you may obtain payment for the harm you sustained by filing a Workers’ Compensation claim. Workers’ Compensation benefits provide payment for medical expenses and lost wages related to on-the-job injuries.
Immediately after filing your claim, you will likely have to seek treatment from a doctor on a list provided by your employer. You may only choose your own physician if your employer has not provided you with such a list. However, this limitation only lasts for 90 days. Once 90 days have passed since your first doctor’s visit, you are free to treat with any doctor you want.
If you need help acquiring payment for your workplace injury in Pennsylvania, contact our experienced Workers’ Compensation lawyers at Lerner, Steinberg & Associates by calling (215) 355-6400 for a free case assessment.
When Can You Choose Your Own Doctor After Filing a Workers’ Compensation Claim in Pennsylvania
You will probably have to choose a doctor from a list provided by your employer after filing a Workers’ Compensation claim in Pennsylvania. However, to force you to see their physician, your employer must ensure that certain conditions have been satisfied. First, your employer must accept your Workers’ Compensation claim and provide you with a list of at least 6 potential physicians. It is illegal for your boss to force you to seek treatment from a singular medical provider. You must be provided with a list of at least six options.
Also, you must be notified in writing that you are required seek treatment from one of the healthcare providers from the list. You have to sign an acknowledgement that you are aware of this list upon being hired and again after sustaining your on-the-job accident.
If even one of the aforementioned conditions have not been satisfied, then you will be free to choose your own physician right away. Your employer also cannot prevent you from switching to a different doctor from the list after beginning treatment.
This limitation on what doctors you can see will only last for 90 days. Once 90 days have passed since you first sought treatment for your workplace injury, you are free to treat with any physician you want.
Will Seeing Your Own Doctor Hurt Your Workers’ Compensation Claim in Pennsylvania?
If your employer has satisfied the requirements for forcing you to see one of their physicians, then visiting your own doctor can jeopardize your claim. Failing to see one of the doctors designated by your boss may even result in your claim’s denial.
As previously mentioned, if your employer has not satisfied certain requirements, then you may choose your own doctor. Still, in this case, you should be aware that your employer and their insurer may attempt to deny your claim by arguing that your own doctor’s treatment was not reasonable or necessary. Support from our Bucks County Workers’ Compensation lawyers can be highly valuable when fighting for the monetary damages you deserve.
Key Determinations Made by Doctors in Workers’ Compensation Claims in Pennsylvania
When seeing a doctor for your on-the-job injury, there are multiple determinations they must make. First, your doctor will have to assess if you have total disability status. This applies to workers who are totally unable to work as a result of their injuries. If you are totally disabled, then you may receive payment for 2/3 of the lost wages you incur. However, once 104 weeks have passed since your injury, your employer may request that you undergo another medical exam to determine if you are still totally disabled.
If you are not hurt badly enough to qualify for total disability status, then your treating physician will determine your degree of partial disability. If you are considered to be partially disabled, you can be paid for up to 500 weeks. Often times, workers with partial disability status are able to return to work in a reduced capacity or new role. If your on-the-job injuries begin to worsen, you may be upgraded from partial disability status to total disability status.
Will Pursuing a Second Opinion from Your Own Physician Hurt Your Workers’ Compensation Claim in Pennsylvania?
It can be natural to want to pursue a second opinion regarding the severity of your workplace injury. The report from employer’s physician may not account for the full range of debilitating harm you sustained.
Unfortunately, you can only pursue a second opinion if your employer’s doctor recommends surgery or another type of especially invasive procedure. However, if you are able to seek a second opinion, then your employer’s insurance company must pay for the visit. If the second opinion confirms that the treatment prescribed by the first doctor is necessary, then you must receive that treatment from your employer’s suggested doctor.
What to Do After Being Hurt at Work in Pennsylvania
After suffering a workplace accident in Pennsylvania, the first order of business should be tending to your injuries. If your injuries require immediate attention, you may be taken to the hospital by ambulance. However, if your injuries do not require emergency treatment, you should still see a doctor as soon as you can. As previously discussed, you may have to see a doctor on a list provided by your employer for the first 90 days of treatment. However, if they have not provided you with such a list, then you may be able to see your own doctor.
Furthermore, you should notify your employer of your on-the-job injury as soon as possible. After notifying your boss, they should initiate the process for filing your Workers’ Compensation claim. Waiting too long to report your injury could complicate the settlement process and keep you from obtaining the payment you deserve.
If You Need to File a Workers’ Compensation Claim in Pennsylvania, Contact Our Law Firm for Assistance
Seek support and guidance from our experienced Chester County Workers’ Compensation attorneys at Lerner, Steinberg & Associates by calling (215) 355-6400 for a free review of your potential claim.