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Can You Change Doctors After Filing A Workers’ Compensation Claim?

Posted in Worker's Compensation on February 22, 2022

Workplace injuries are not uncommon throughout Arizona, and it is crucial for individuals to receive proper medical care after sustaining an on-the-job injury. Aside from emergency medical care, it may be necessary for a person to receive follow-up care from a physician. However, there are times when individuals do not get along with their doctors. A breakdown in the doctor-patient relationship can be frustrating. Here, we want to discuss the steps that you will have to take if you need to change your doctor after filing a workers’ compensation claim in Arizona.

You Can Only Change Doctors Under Certain Circumstances

There is a specific way for you to request a change of doctors for your workers’ compensation claim in Arizona. When you go to the Industrial Commission of Arizona’s website, you will see instructions about how to request a change of doctors. They explained that when an injury occurs at work, an employee has the right to be seen by a doctor of the employer’s choice one time. If the worker returns to that physician, that physician becomes the attending physician.

As stated on the Industrial Commission’s website, we can see that after one visit to the employer’s designated physician of choice, the injured worker has the right to report to a physician of their choice. However, there are exceptions to this.

There are a number of employers in Arizona who are self-insured. These employers have contracted medical care on file with the Industrial Commission of Arizona. If a worker sustains an injury, and they are employed by one of these self-insured employers, they are required to go to their employer’s contracted doctors for any medical care related to their injury.

If you are unsure about whether or not your employer is self-insured, you can contact the claims division at (602) 542-4661.

After an attending physician has been selected, there are three ways that an injured worker can change their doctor:

  1. The attending physician refers the injured worker to another doctor
  2. The insurance carrier approves a change of doctors
  3. A written application from the injured worker to the Industrial Commission of Arizona and approval of the ICA

An injured worker does have the right to request a change of doctors, even if their current attending doctor and the insurance carrier refuse their request for change.

Can You Get a Second Opinion?

It is common practice for individuals to want a second opinion when receiving medical care, regardless of whether or not they sustain a workplace injury or an injury somewhere else. However, if you do not agree with your initial doctor about your work injury diagnosis, seeking a second opinion will require you to submit written requests for the second opinion to the insurance carrier for approval.

Working With an Attorney

If you or somebody you care about has sustained an injury in the workplace, you may need to work with a skilled Phoenix workers’ compensation attorney to help you recover full compensation for your losses. This is particularly true if your injury was caused by the actions of a third party aside from your employer or a coworker. It may be possible to file a personal injury lawsuit to recover additional types of compensation above and beyond what is typically available through the workers’ comp process.