When you’re hurt on the job, your treating physician plays a critical role in everything from how well you recover from your injuries to what work restrictions you have (if any) once you return to the job — among other things.
Unfortunately, you don’t get to pick your own doctor in an Iowa workers’ comp claim. Here’s what you need to know to protect your interests.
Your employer gets to pick your doctor
If you want your employer or their insurance company to cover the cost of your medical care, you have to go to an authorized treating doctor. This could be the company doctor or a doctor chosen from a list your employer provides. In rare cases, you may be allowed to use your regular doctor — but you need your employer’s prior permission to do so.
You may have to fight to change doctors
What happens if you think the doctor you’ve been given doesn’t really have your best interests at heart? What if you simply think they’re a bad doctor?
Generally, you need to first approach your employer about making a change in providers. If they’re amenable to the idea, you can transfer your care. If they aren’t, you can initiate a contested-claim proceeding with the workers’ compensation commissioner and ask for a hearing.
You can ask for a review of any disability rating
At some point, the company-approved doctor may give you an impairment rating that reflects any level of permanent disability you may now have. If you believe the rating is too low, you also have the right to request a contested-case proceeding with the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC).
Getting hurt at work is frustrating. Struggling to get the workers’ comp benefits you are due is worse. If your claim isn’t going as expected, it may be time to get some legal insights.