Does Massachusetts Workers Compensation allow me to choose my own doctor?

medical-doctor-1314902-mAfter you have been injured at work and need medical treatment, often times you will be contacted by your employer’s workers compensation insurance company or a nurse who works for the workers’ compensation insurer for the purpose of them trying to steer you to a certain doctor for medical treatment.  If this happens to you, you should be very concerned about the intentions of the workers’ compensation insurance company.  If you are receiving a weekly disability check from workers’ compensation, the workers’ compensation insurer does have a financial incentive to get you treated by a qualified doctor so that you can return to work as soon as possible and they can stop paying you your weekly disability benefits.  However, some workers’ compensation insurance companies try to steer injured workers to certain doctors because they know the reputation of the doctor is such that he is more likely to recommend medical treatment that is less costly to the insurance company, such as ordering conservative medical treatment such as physical therapy or injections instead of surgery.  Workers’ compensation insurance companies also are known to steer injured workers to certain doctors who are known to either not write disability letters for their patients (which are required in order for an injured worker to continue to receive a weekly disability check) or are likely to clear an injured worker to return to work well before that injured worker is actually physically capable of returning to his or her job (thus enabling the workers’ compensation insurer to stop weekly disability payments to the injured worker).

The Massachusetts workers’ compensation laws allow an injured worker to be treated by a doctor of their choosing.  An exception to this rule is a situation where a certain doctor does not accept workers’ compensation insurance.  Generally most reputable doctors, including many top Boston area orthopedic surgeons, accept workers compensation insurance.  A good place to find a reputable doctor who is free and clear of any conflicts of interest with your employer’s workers compensation insurer is your primary care doctor, or by asking friends who may have treated for a similar injury.  After you have been referred to a qualified doctor by your primary care doctor or family member or friend, it is also a good idea to check with your Massachusetts workers’ compensation lawyer and ask your attorney whether they are aware of that particular doctor’s reputation.

Our office has taken over many cases for injured workers where the injured worker has already had medical treatment, even surgery, with a doctor who does not possess a good reputation for treating injured workers and/or cooperating with the claims process.  This results in a poor recovery from your injury and a poor outcome in your workers’ compensation case.  Before choosing a doctor to do any type of significant medical treatment, it is advisable to check with a Boston workers’ compensation attorney to make sure that you are in capable hands.  At the Carney Law Firm, all of our client consultations are free of charge, so you can contact us with any questions you may have about your medical treatment and right to workers’ compensation benefits without worrying about incurring any legal bills.