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Do I have any options if I do not like the workers’ compensation doctor my employer selected?

The workers’ compensation program provides benefits to employees who suffer any type of on-the-job injury or an injury or illness that is related to their job. Medical benefits are among the most commonly sought benefits available in a workers’ compensation claim. However, other benefits include ongoing temporary permanent benefits based on the employee’s inability to work. The employee’s treating physician is responsible for making most benefit-eligibility and return-to-work decisions. However, what comes as a surprise to many injured workers is that they do not necessarily get to choose their doctor.

A workers’ compensation healthcare provider plays a crucial role in the process. A treating doctor performs all of the following tasks:

  • Diagnoses and treats an injured worker;
  • Refers the worker to specialists, if necessary;
  • Decides whether the employee should have any work restrictions and, if so, the extent of these restrictions;
  • Determines the employee’s level of permanent disability;
  • Documents the injury, treatment and recovery process.

Under New Jersey workers’ compensation law, an employer has the right to choose the healthcare professional who will provide care to an injured worker. There are times, however, when an employee can choose their own provider. Specifically, this is the case when either:

  • An employer refuses to provide an injured worker medical treatment: If an employer refuses to provide adequate medical care, an employee can file a Motion for Medical and/or Temporary Disability Benefits. These motions are considered high-priority, and will be reviewed within 30 days of their filing.
  • In the case of an emergency: If an employee seeks emergency medical care, they should notify their employer as soon as possible to protect their workers’ compensation eligibility.

That said, an employee’s general dislike or disagreement with a treating physician will not typically result in an employee being able to select their own provider. Injured workers who have questions about the workers’ compensation process, or are having difficulties dealing with their employer or treating physician should reach out to a dedicated New Jersey workers’ compensation attorney for immediate assistance.

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