When you file a workers’ compensation claim in Florida, your employer’s insurance carrier will designate an authorized physician who will be responsible for making all treatment decisions for your on-the-job injury. If you disagree with the insurance company’s choice, you have a one-time opportunity to request a change per the procedures specified in the State’s Workers Compensation Statute.
Changing your workers’ comp doctor, however, is an extremely important part of any workers’ compensation case. In light of the fact that Florida law only allows one change of doctor during the entire life of the Worker’s Compensation claim, the timing of such request is something that has to be considered. In most instances, a request for a one-time change in provider should not be requested either during the early stages of the claim (i.e. at the initial PCP level of treatment) or during the time when the treating physician is continuing to provide recommendations for treatment and assigning work restrictions.
Injured Florida workers who would prefer a different physician than the doctor originally designated by their employer’s insurer should contact the Berlin Law Firm to speak with a Florida work injury lawyer about how to manage this process.
Why might a worker request a change to his or her workers’ comp doctor?
Your relationship with the physician who is treating your work-related injury can have a substantial impact on the extent and success of your recovery. Doctor-patient relationships are supposed to be founded on trust, knowledge, regard and loyalty. Without those things, it’s hard to feel confident in the diagnosis you’ve been given.
Here are a few examples of why you may want to change doctors:
- The element of trust may be absent, for example, if you sense that the doctor that was selected by your employer’s workers’ comp insurance company has a bias in the company’s favor.
- Similarly, you might feel that the physician does not have the knowledge or ability to provide state-of-the-art treatments.
- Or, you may not have high regard for the doctor if a diagnosis downplays the seriousness of your injury.
If you feel, for whatever reason, that a different doctor will give you a better chance to come back from your injury, don’t hesitate to contact Berlin Law firm to determine whether it is advantageous at that point in your claim to change doctors as allowed by Florida law.
What is the process for changing doctors in a Florida Workers’ Comp case?
Changing your authorized treating physician in a Florida Workers Comp case is a fairly straightforward process, but it comes with some nuances you should be aware of. Here’s what happens:
- You need to send a written request to your employer’s workers’ comp insurance carrier that you want a different doctor. You do not have to provide a reason, but your request must be in writing.
- The employer has five days after it receives your written notice to appoint a new physician. Make sure you send your written notice via a method that allows you to verify when the insurer has received it.
- If the insurer does not choose a new physician within five days, you can select a new authorized treating physician.
- When the new physician begins treating your work-related injuries, you will no longer have the right or opportunity to request another physician.
Can the insurance company stop you from changing doctors?
Your primary authorized treating physician might refer you to a specialist for some types of medical care. Your primary physician will likely contact the insurer for approval before sending you to that specialist, and your employer’s workers’ comp insurer might then claim that the specialist qualifies as your one allowed change under Florida law. This is not, however, a correct application of the law.
If a written request to change physicians has not come directly from an injured employee, the employee will still have an opportunity to request a change.
Injured employees who are facing these or other roadblocks in their attempts to change doctors should consult with one of our experienced Florida workers’ comp attorneys to understand their rights in these situations.
How can Berlin Law Firm help an injured employee change doctors in a Florida workers’ comp case?
Florida’s Workers’ Compensation law represents a significant compromise under which an employee gives up a right to sue his or her employer for damages in a negligence lawsuit. In exchange for giving up that right, the employee should receive immediate competent medical care for on-the-job injuries and the employee’s insurance should pay for that care— which should never be substandard or inadequate.
Unfortunately, some workers’ comp insurance companies make it difficult for injured employees to receive the medical care they deserve. Our workers’ compensation attorneys at Berlin Law Firm can help injured workers get that care from a physician they trust.
We have offices in Sarasota and Tampa and offer FREE consultations to injured Florida workers. Please call us for answers to your questions about how you can change the authorized treating physician that your employer’s workers’ comp insurance carrier has assigned to your case.
We can help you submit a request to change doctors, and we will fight to recover all other benefits you are entitled to receive after you suffer an on-the-job injury.