If you are injured at work, and you file a worker’s compensation claim, you may choose a doctor to take care of you. But your choices are limited. Under Georgia law, choosing a doctor really means picking one from the Panel of Physicians selected by your employer.
The employer must maintain a list of at least six physicians or medical practices. At least one of the doctors must be an orthopod and no more than two industrial clinics can be on the panel. At first, the employer chooses a physician from the panel for you, but if you don’t want that physician to treat you, you can select one of the other physicians, practices or clinics on the panel for treatment.
Choosing a Doctor Later
If you go ahead and accept a doctor for treatment, you can still choose a different doctor, once, provided you are choosing a doctor from the same Panel of Physicians. But until you change, you should keep all your appointments and follow the doctor’s advice. The point behind worker’s compensation is to get you whole and able to work again. For the doctor to do this job, you must submit yourself for examination and treatment. If you don’t keep appointments, or follow medical advice, your benefits could be suspended so that you could be prohibited from changing doctors.
The Doctor’s Responsibilities
Your doctor is the primary care physician. If the doctor can’t handle your injury alone, the doctor has the responsibility and power to refer you out to a specialist as necessary. But your doctor’s job is not just to get you well. Remember that the doctor is placed on the Panel of Physicians by the employer. And one of the doctor’s jobs is to determine the type and extent of your disability. If the doctor does not believe you are injured to the extent you believe you are, then your claim for worker’s compensation could be denied.
If you are not sure you like the doctor you’ve been assigned, you can pick a different one, and you can change to a different one, once, later on. If you have any issues with choosing a doctor, you should contact a Georgia worker’s compensation attorney.