I Don’t Like the Doctor They Sent Me to. What Can I Do?
May 9, 2023
Nearly every employee in Montana is covered by workers’ compensation insurance, which pays out for expenses related to a work injury. This indispensable benefit is crucial to keeping workplaces and workers safe under all conditions.
However, most employees aren’t familiar with the basics and are unable to answer questions like, “What benefits are available through workers’ comp?”, “Which employees are covered under workers’ comp?”, and “What injuries are covered under workers’ comp?”. Additionally, they’re unsure of what happens when they do see a doctor and whether changing doctors for workers’ comp is permitted.
If you’re in Glendive, Miles City, Sidney, or Billings, Montana, and would like to speak with a workers’ compensation attorney, call us at Gerstner Adam Law.
Choosing a Physician in a Workers’ Compensation Case
While you may get to choose the first doctor you see after sustaining an injury, it’s quite common for the employer or insurer to then designate a new doctor who will continue to provide you care. Montana state law even stipulates that after the insurance liability is accepted (your workers’ comp claim was approved), the insurer can then “designate or approve a treating physician who agrees to assume the responsibilities of the treating physician.”
It’s possible that they will approve of the provider you initially chose, but they are permitted to choose a different provider which you would then have to go to in order to get coverage. You may also be required to undergo an employer-ordered examination with a provider of their choosing.
Can I Switch Doctors During My Workers’ Compensation Case?
Because of Montana’s laws, it can be hard to switch doctors during treatment since it will likely require authorization. That said, it may be possible, but there are pros and cons to changing:
Pros to Switching Doctors: Obviously, you want to get the best care possible from a provider you trust and feel comfortable with. If you feel your current doctor isn’t qualified to give you the care you need, or even if their office is inconvenient to get to and you want a provider closer to your home, making a request to switch could be in your best interest.
Cons to Switching Doctors: As an employee, when your medical expenses are being covered under workers’ comp, your choices may be very limited regarding which provider you see. If you are unsatisfied with the doctor the insurer selects, it can be a long and complicated process to try and switch. Plus, there’s no guarantee that your insurer will approve your request.
Getting a Second Opinion
If you don’t agree with your provider’s diagnosis or you don’t feel the course of treatment they recommended is effective, you may want to get a second opinion. Other reasons you might seek a second opinion are if your doctor is recommending surgery and you want to be sure it’s necessary, or if they’re telling you it’s okay to go back to work but you don’t feel the same way.
You can request a second opinion directly through the insurer, but if they refuse, you may need to seek the help of an attorney. In some cases, you may even need help appealing a workers’ comp decision, but this should only be done with the assistance of an experienced lawyer who’s well-versed in Montana workers’ comp laws.
An Attorney Can Help You Make the Best Decision
If you’re in the Billings, Montana, area and have recently been injured on the job, you should contact an attorney to ensure your best interests are represented and that you get the care you need. Reach out to us at Gerstner Adam Law to learn more.