I Don’t Like the Doctor My Employer Sent Me to, Can I Change My Doctor?
YES – you always have the right to change your primary treating physician within the employer’s medical provider network. As long as you have a need for medical treatment and you see a doctor within the employer’s MPN, you can select a new doctor. As an unrepresented injured worker, you can change after the employer controls your medical treatment for the first 30 days. Once you become represented, however, your attorney can designate a new treater for you immediately. You shouldn’t want your employer to control your medical treatment any longer than they have to, as there is an obvious conflict of interest in that situation. If you have any issues with your treating physician and are thinking about seeing a new doctor, contact us so we can identify a better doctor for you to see.
Can I bring a Civil Lawsuit Against My Employer for My Work Injury?
MAYBE – in a limited number of circumstances, your employer’s conduct may open them to civil liability for the injury you sustained at work. Generally, when you are hurt at work due to an accident, your exclusive remedy is a workers’ compensation claim. This is the result of the great trade off between the employee and employer whereby the employee cannot sue the employer directly for an accident at work in exchange for the employer carrying a workers’ compensation insurance policy that will provide adequate benefits. I use the term ‘adequate’ loosely here as the current workers’ compensation system has been reformed so much that it arguably fails to provide enough benefits for a working individual to make ends meet while recovering from an injury. You could also have a third party lawsuit against someone who causes your injury if you get hurt at work the result of someone or something not associated with your employer. In any of these situations, it is best to speak to an attorney to discuss the actual mechanism of your injury to determine if there are additional lawsuits outside of workers’ compensation that may be filed.
Will Hiring an Attorney for My Workers’ Compensation Claim Affect My Employment?
NO – As an injured worker, you are in a protected class and cannot be discriminated against for filing a workers’ compensation claim under the Labor Code. If your employer threatens or otherwise takes action against you to retaliate for being hurt on the job they are in violation of the law and can be punished.
As a workers’ compensation attorney, we have very little involvement with your employer. Typically, we let them know we have been retained so any issues regarding your treatment and work status can go through their insurance provider. That way, you don’t have to deal with legal and medical terms you may not understand how to properly communicate these things to your boss. We proceed for all intents and purposes against the workers’ compensation insurance carrier to pursue the benefits you are entitled to. Our goal is to keep you at work. To that end we will exhaust every benefit you are entitled to so that you may achieve a full recovery and get back on the job. The last thing we want to do is create a hostile situation between you and your employer and put your job in jeopardy. If you are having any problems with your work due to an injury, please contact an attorney in our office immediately to assess the situation.