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Choosing a Doctor

When you suffer an injury at work, you may assume that you can choose the physician who will treat you. This is not how workers’ compensation works in Florida. With some exceptions, Florida law gives your employer or its insurance provider the right to choose the physician who treats you.

Florida workers’ compensation law favors employers by allowing them to make this crucial decision. After all, the doctor who will treat you will also make decisions that are crucial to your workers’ compensation benefits including how much time you need off work, when you have reached maximum medical improvement, and whether (and to what extent) you are permanently disabled.

Unhappy with Your Workers' Comp Doctor? How to Request a New Physician

Workers' compensation law in Florida allows you to make a one-time request to change physicians when you are not happy with the medical care you are receiving from the doctor chosen by the insurance company. To do this, you are required to make the request in writing.

If the insurance company chooses to grant your request, you still do not get to choose the new doctor. The insurance carrier will choose a replacement physician. If you make a written request for a replacement physician and the carrier does not respond to authorize a new doctor within 5 days, you do have the right to choose a physician of your choice and the insurance company must compensate you.

This can put injured workers in a difficult position. Sometimes workers' compensation doctors are on the side of the employer and the insurance company who pay their fees. If you don't agree with your diagnosis or treatment, you have no way to know if the next physician you will be sent to will be an improvement or actually make your situation worse.

If you are still not satisfied with the second doctor chosen by the insurance company, you have one final option: an Independent Medical Exam.

Florida law allows injured workers to choose a physician to perform an Independent Medical Exam for a second opinion. While you can choose your doctor, you will need to pay for this exam. The doctor will not be treating your injuries, but they will give you an independent diagnosis and recommend a treatment. If this course of treatment differs from the one recommended by the insurance carrier's physician, it can be used to get a Judge of Compensation Claims to order that you receive the treatment under workers' comp.

How Work Injury Lawyers Can Help

While Florida workers' compensation law does not allow you to choose your own physician, you do have the right to work with a Florida workers' compensation lawyer to fight for your rights and help you through the claims process.

If you are not satisfied with the medical care you are receiving during your workers' compensation claim, or your claim has been denied, contact the Work Injury lawyers today to consult with an attorney who can help you understand your options.

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