Workplace injuries often fall into two distinct categories. Many workplace injuries may just require first aid and probably a brief rest for the worker involved, with a few other consequences. Some workplace accidents become lost time events, meaning that they affected workers seriously enough that the individual has to miss a day or shift at work.
As soon as an injury becomes severe enough for a worker to miss a day of employment, the employer must report it to the state. Of course, regardless of whether you have to miss work or not because of an injury, you can still receive workers’ compensation benefits for the medical care you need. Does your employer get to decide what doctor you see?
When your workplace has a say
Your employer pays for workers’ compensation insurance, so they can sometimes choose to suggest or cooperate with specific medical care providers. If your employer has provided a list of six or more health care providers that you can seek treatment from after a workplace injury, you will generally need to defer to that list when receiving care for a workplace injury.
You will need to see a physician off of that list for your initial evaluation and any care that you received for the first 90 days of treatment. If your treatment lasts for more than 90 days or if your employer does not provide a list of pre-approved providers, you then have the option of selecting your own medical professional for your care.
In some cases when a worker chooses their own care provider, they may have to contribute to the expenses if there is a gap between what the insurance program pays and want the provider bills for their services.
The injured worker should always have some options available
Although your employer can give you a list of medical facilities and care providers, they cannot demand that you only see one specific professional. Having a choice of who treats you can be important, especially for workers who will need support for many weeks as they recover from a workplace injury.
Understanding how workers’ compensation operates in Pennsylvania makes it easier to ask for the benefits and care you deserve.