Obtaining A New Doctor
New Jersey Lawyer Representing Employees In Workers’ Compensation Claims
If an employee suffers a work-related injury, he or she may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits from his or her employer’s insurer, including medical benefits. Most of the time, the employer has the right to choose a physician who will treat the employee. In certain instances, however, the employee may be able to obtain a new doctor. If you were injured at work or are suffering from a work-related illness, it is advisable to confer with an attorney to discuss your rights. The diligent New Jersey workers’ compensation lawyers at New Jersey Workers Compensation Lawyer of JFM Law can advise you on obtaining a new doctor.
The Employer’s Right To Choose A Treating Physician
Pursuant to New Jersey workers’ compensation laws, employers are required to provide employees who suffer a work-related injury with medical benefits, which means that they need to provide their employees with treatment for their injuries. While an employer has an obligation to cover the costs of treatment for an injured employee, the employer also has the right to select the physician who will treat the employee. Generally, it is not the employer itself but the employer’s workers’ compensation insurer that actually selects the treating physician. The physician selected is tasked not only with treating the employee but also with determining whether the employee has reached maximum medical improvement, requires additional treatment, or is partially or totally disabled. Thus, if the treating physician does not provide adequate care or accurately assess the employee’s situation, it can drastically impair the employee’s rights.
Obtaining A New Doctor
Although the employer has the initial right to select the treating physician in a workers’ compensation claim, an employee does have the right to seek a new doctor in certain circumstances. Specifically, if an employee is not receiving the treatment that he or she needs, despite requesting the treatment from his or her employer, the employee can file a motion for medical benefits with the Division of Workers’ Compensation. The employee must provide a statement from a physician indicating that the employee will suffer harm if the treatment is not provided, as well as any medical records that support his or her claim. The employer or its insurer then has five days to file an answer to the motion, and an initial conference will be held five days after the answer is filed. If the matter is not resolved, a hearing will be held on the issue, after which a workers’ compensation judge will determine if the treatment is necessary and reasonable. If the judge rules in the employee’s favor, the employee can get treatment from a physician of their choosing, and the employer or its insurer will be required to cover the cost of the treatment.
During the process of determining whether the treatment sought is necessary, the employee may be required to submit to a physical examination, often known as an independent medical examination, during which his or her injuries will be evaluated. Employees are permitted to have their own physician present during the examination but cannot choose the doctor who performs the examination. If the employee refuses to submit to the examination, he or she may waive the right to recover benefits.
Discuss Your Medical Options With A New Jersey Attorney
Many workplace injuries require extensive treatment, and injured employees are often required to get treatment from unfamiliar physicians. If you were injured at work and require medical treatment following your injury, you should meet with an attorney to discuss the steps that you can take to protect your interests. The zealous attorneys at New Jersey Workers Compensation Lawyer can assist you in pursuing a claim for benefits and obtaining a new doctor if that proves necessary. We assist people in workers’ compensation claims in cities throughout New Jersey, including in Atlantic, Bergen, Burlington, Camden, Essex, Hudson, Mercer, Middlesex, Monmouth, Ocean, Passaic, Somerset, and Union Counties. We can be contacted via our online form or at 866-916-3549 to schedule a conference.