Medical Treatment under Workers’ Compensation in Georgia
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After a workplace injury, you should seek medical attention as soon as possible for your own health and safety. If your injury is or should be covered by workers’ compensation, you will need to take certain steps regarding medical treatment in order to recover the benefits you are owed.
The Atlanta workers’ compensation lawyers at Whiteman, Hamilton & Conklin, LLC can help you secure proper medical treatment following an on-the-job accident or injury. We are here to serve as your guide and advocate throughout each stage of the legal process.
When Should I Seek Medical Treatment After a Work Injury?
Following an on-the-job accident, you should seek medical treatment as soon as possible. Yes, reporting your injury to your employer is important, but recovering from your injuries should be your top priority. If you need immediate medical attention for a work injury, get to the nearest emergency room and report your injury once you receive treatment (or have a coworker initially report it for you). If your injuries seem less serious, you should still receive medical treatment before you report the accident — prompt medical treatment will ensure that your injuries are properly addressed. Being treated quickly will also help strengthen your case by exhibiting the severity of your injuries.
Once you receive your initial treatment, you will likely need to visit a workers’ compensation board-approved medical provider to receive further treatment. Your employer will provide a list of approved doctors and specialists, and you can visit them for your injury treatment until you reach maximum medical improvement.
Can I Choose My Own Doctor for a Work Injury?
If you are injured on the job, you will likely not be able to visit your own primary medical care provider for the majority of your work injury treatment. Workers’ compensation cases generally involve a group of doctors who are pre-approved to provide medical care in these types of situations. You should receive a list of those pre-approved doctors from your employer or their insurance provider. If you choose one of those doctors and would like to change, you can select a different doctor once — and your new doctor must also be chosen from the pre-approved list. Work injury victims, in most cases, can only be treated by their own doctor if they predesignate that doctor, usually upon employment.
Getting a Second Opinion
If you have been receiving workers’ compensation benefits and your authorized treating physician decides that you have substantially healed from your injury or healed as much as you are going to, your workers’ compensation payments will end. However, you do have the right to obtain a second opinion exam from a qualified physician if you believe your benefits were ended prematurely. If you decide to get a second opinion, you must inform your employer and/or your employer’s insurance provider of this in writing.
Similarly, your employer may ask for a second opinion after receiving a report from your authorized treating physician. By law, both employees and employers in Georgia may request an independent medical examination when the employee is claiming/receiving workers’ compensation benefits. This exam will be conducted by a non-treating physician.
Should I Tell My Doctor about my Work-Related Injury?
Although you are required to have an approved doctor treat your injuries when you are filing a workers’ compensation claim, you will likely need to tell your regular doctor about your work injury to receive initial treatment. Unless your injuries are so serious that you need to visit the emergency room, you will probably visit your primary medical care provider for that first round of treatment.
In most cases, you will need to be treated by a pre-approved doctor. However, it may be possible to visit your primary medical care provider throughout your work injury treatment if you have predesignated that doctor. Pre-designation is generally the only way a person will be able to visit their own physician for work injury treatment.
Put Our 80+ Years of Combined Experience to Work for You
When receiving medical treatment under workers’ compensation, it is absolutely imperative that you attend all your scheduled doctor’s appointments and follow your doctor’s orders. Doing so is not only crucial for your own healing, but it is also critical for the outcome of your case.
If you need help with any aspect of obtaining medical treatment after a work-related injury, Whiteman, Hamilton & Conklin, LLC can help. We are here to answer your questions and assist you throughout the process of securing workers’ compensation benefits.
Contact us today at 404-800-4661 for a free consultation with one of our Atlanta workers’ compensation attorneys. We can come to you!