What if I don't like the choice of doctors provided by workers' comp?

by Anonymous

I fell from a ladder in October 2014. I was taken by coworkers immediately to the ER as I have previously had neck surgery in 1999 and was now in severe pain. They did a CT scan and said it looked okay. The ER doctor diagnosed me with "cervical strain and head trauma."

I was very sore and hurting, but figured it would go away, and to some degree it did. But then the pain would streak down my arm and I would get numbness in my hand, which is what started the process back in 1999 when I had surgery.

They sent me for an MRI with contrast, and I had trauma to the discs immediately above and below where the surgery had been done. My general practitioner began the hunt for a neurologist that would take my workers' compensation insurance. My doctor that had fixed my neck the first time (and my lower back in 2010) whom I trust, will not take my WC.

They found a doctor that would accept WC. I have read reviews and found I do not want to go to this doctor. I have asked the question, can I drop the WC claim and use my regular insurance and just pay my part to get the doctor I want? They said no.

What do I do now?

I'm having trouble sleeping. I have to hold my arm over my head often to relieve the pain in my arm, and when I do any lifting the pain goes down both arms. I was treated with great skepticism until after the MRI. The WC system is abused by people, I understand that, but I am not one of them and I have not stopped working.

I simply want a competent doctor working on my spine!

Visitor Question:
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ANSWER for "What if I don't like the choice of doctors provided by workers' comp? ":

Anonymous (Texas):

Under workers' compensation laws, you have the right to ask for a second, and often a third medical opinion. Contact the insurance company and ask for a list of approved physicians, including a neurologist.

If your pain is a direct result if the work injury, and the neurologist will confirm that it is, you shouldn't have any trouble convincing the workers' compensation insurance company to pay you a fair amount to be able to treat your injury.

If, in the alternative, you can’t find a doctor who will substantiate your claim, your next step will be to contact a workers' comp attorney. Fortunately, most workers' comp attorneys do not charge for an initial office consultation.

Moreover, if you can find an attorney to accept your claim, you will not have to pay him or her. The attorneys fee will be paid as part of the workers' comp settlement.

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from an attorney licensed in your state. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here, or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck,

Judge Calisi

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