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After a Work Injury, Can I Choose My Own Doctor?

  • Published: August 24, 2022

After sustaining injuries in a workplace accident, your medical care is a top priority. It’s important that you feel comfortable with the medical professional who treats you, and having a pleasant medical experience is essential for your recovery. If you have suffered a workplace injury in California, you can choose your own doctor, but only under certain circumstances.

We understand the aftermath of a workplace injury can be complicated. Our experienced legal team at KCNS Law Group may be able to help you through your workers’ compensation claim, including the process of choosing your own doctor. If you do not qualify to choose your own doctor at first, we are prepared to assist you in changing your doctor as well.

Who Can Choose Their Own Doctor After a Work Injury in California?

If you have been injured at your workplace in California, you may be able to choose your own doctor for treatment. However, you must meet certain criteria to do so. According to Cal. Labor Code §§ 4600, this criteria includes the following:

  • If you have healthcare coverage for medical treatment that does not relate to work injuries
  • If you predesignated your doctor, meaning you provided a written notice of your doctor of choice to your employer before you sustained your injuries
  • Your doctor agreed to treat any work-related injuries

If you do not predesignate your doctor before your injury, you will most likely not be able to choose the physician you see. If your employer uses a medical provider network (MPN), you can choose a doctor from that list for your treatment.

If your employer uses a healthcare organization (HCO), you will probably be treated by a doctor within that organization. If your employer doesn’t have either of these networks, the claims administrator can select the doctor you use for the first 30 days of treatment.

How to Change Your Treating Doctor In Your Workers’ Comp Case

It’s crucial for your case and for your health that you make a full recovery after your workplace injury, and a doctor you like is essential to the healing process. Therefore, if you cannot choose your doctor immediately after your injury, you do have the option to change physicians depending on the type of insurance your employer uses. The process of changing your treating doctor include the following:

  • If your employer has an MPN: You can switch your doctor at least twice, but the doctors have to be within the network. After the third doctor, you may request an independent review with a medical professional to determine if you can use a doctor outside the network.
  • If your employer has an HCO: You may switch to at least one other doctor within the organization. You can switch to a new medical provider after a 180-day waiting period if you are covered by your employer-provided health insurance or 90 days if you aren’t covered.
  • If your employer has neither: After the first 30 days of your injury, you may switch doctors, but the claims administrator may select that doctor for you. However, you may choose your own doctor if deemed reasonable.

Because your ability to change your treating doctor depends on which type of insurance your employer offers, it’s important to know which one your employer uses. This determines how you can change your doctor if you do not predesignate one before you are injured.

Contact Knowledgeable California Workers’ Comp Lawyers at KCNS Law Group

Finding a doctor you feel comfortable with is vital for your recovery and your workers’ comp claim. We understand the steps following a workplace injury can be stressful, so we are here to assist you throughout the claim process and help you understand when you can and cannot choose your own treating doctor.

At KCNS Law Group, we have offered high-quality legal services to California residents for decades. We believe in protecting the rights of workers and defending them in difficult times. We are committed to building the strongest claim for you and getting the care you need. Give us a call at (818) 937-9255 or fill out our contact form to schedule a free consultation.

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