When you’re injured at work, you naturally rely on your workers’ compensation insurer to help you find treatment. Unfortunately, the workers’ comp system in New Jersey doesn’t give you many options when it comes to choosing your own physician. Your employer actually has the right to dictate who provides your medical care.
How do you deal with the company doctor?
Your employer may have an in-house physician, an employee clinic or a list of their preferred providers. Either way, you may find yourself saddled with a doctor who does less to relieve or cure your condition than to abide by your employer’s agenda.
After all, your employer is likely to pick physicians who will prioritize putting employees back to work (and off the workers’ comp rolls) as soon as possible. That means you may have to struggle to get the treatment you really need.
How can you protect yourself? Consider the following tips:
- Be an aggressive advocate for yourself. Research your condition online and ask plenty of questions. Don’t be afraid to push back if the doctor doesn’t seem to take you seriously.
- Take someone with you to each visit. It may help to have a witness there who can attest to the doctor’s attitude and manner of care. That keeps things from being your word against their word if something happens.
- Find an attorney. If a doctor is trying to push you back to work too early or your treatment is inadequate, it may be time to look at your legal options.
Ultimately, the workers’ compensation system is supposed to be there to benefit you. If the process starts to be harmful, you have every right to protect your interests.