Sometimes, the anxiety of having been injured on the job can be as uncomfortable the physical pain. You may worry you’ll lose your job or get cheated out of rights or money you’re owed, or you may just feel embarrassed.
Let’s make it a bit easier right away. Yes, you can choose which doctor you go to. Granted, there are some important exceptions and conditions you’ll need to remember.
Choosing your doctor or your lawyer
According to state law, not only are you allowed to choose a doctor, employers must inform you of that right. You should probably feel confident that all will go well.
However, throughout what follows, you also have the right to legal representation. If you’re denied the rights described below, contact an experienced employment attorney.
Any doctor you want, almost
If the doctor you select is licensed to practice in Wisconsin, you should be okay. The doctor must practice specialties commonly seen as mainstream, such as psychology, dentistry, podiatry, as well as chiropractic.
You can even shop around, but only a little. If you’re not happy with your first choice of doctor, you can choose another. Referrals (to a specialist, for example, or to another doctor in the same clinic) don’t count against your two-choice limit.
If you can get your employer and their insurance company to agree in advance, you can also choose a physical or massage therapist or a pain clinic. Also, doctors not licensed in Wisconsin (at the Mayo Clinic, for example) are also okay, and long as your doctor refers you or your employer’s insurer agrees in advance.
If you’ve used up your first and second choices, you must negotiate more changes with your employer.
Some fine print to keep in mind
In an emergency where you’re not able to make snap decisions, your employer can go ahead and call immediate help. You can make your choices as soon after that as you’re able.
You may need to submit to an additional exam by a doctor the employer chooses. You can have your own doctor there for the exam and you must be given a copy of their doctor’s report.
Of course, you don’t have to see any doctors or follow any of the advice of doctors you see. But then the employer is no longer responsible for any ill health effects or death. They’ll pay for your doctor, and then you need to try to get better.
A dose of reality can do wonders
The great state of Wisconsin was the first in America to pass a comprehensive workers’ compensation law. It has seen some significant changes in the past few years, but it remains a state committed to getting you healthy again in a way that makes sense to you and getting you back to productive work.