How to change your workers’ comp doctor in Arizona
Injuries suffered in the workplace can seriously affect your health, well-being and future earning potential. Aside from possibly a trip to the emergency room in the immediate aftermath of a serious work-related accident, an examination by a licensed physician is likely the first step you’ll take to determine the extent of your injuries and assess treatment options.
Sometimes, though, the patient-doctor relationship breaks down and leads to frustrating interactions. Doctors are humans, meaning they too can make mistakes when it comes to diagnosis and treatment. Or worse, some doctors may be in the pocket of the insurance company, intentionally misdiagnosing injured workers or underestimating their recovery time for personal financial gain. It may seem like your treating physician is more concerned about your employer’s financial interests than your health and well-being.
If your treating physician doesn’t support your workers’ comp claim, the insurance company will typically deny benefits.
In situations like this, you may be wondering: Can I go to my own doctor and still get workers’ compensation?
If you’re unsatisfied with your workers’ comp doctor, you may be able to change physicians. However, Arizona law only allows you to change doctors under certain circumstances. For this reason, it’s important to consult a knowledgeable Arizona workers’ compensation attorney who fully understands the rules and procedures in this state when it comes to changing doctors. Failure to follow the correct process can result in the insurance company refusing to pay your medical bills.
Without professional representation, many injured workers fail to receive the justice and compensation they deserve.
Regardless of your employer’s insurance status, you may have the right to elect to change doctors.
Our team takes pride in locating excellent doctors for all of our clients to make sure their workplace injuries are accurately documented and they receive the full benefits they deserve. We can help secure maximum workers’ compensation benefits for you and your family.
Changing Doctors In Arizona: When It’s Allowed
In Arizona, you are allowed to change doctors during the course of examination and treatment for work-related injuries in the following circumstances:
- If the ICA grants your written request to change doctors. (To file a request you must fill out and submit the Request to Change Doctors Form.)
- If your current doctor refers you to another doctor or specialist.
- If the workers’ compensation insurance company approves your request to change doctors.
Can I get a second opinion on my diagnosis?
If you don’t agree with the initial doctor on your diagnosis, you are allowed to seek a second opinion. In most cases, you’ll need to submit a written request for a second opinion that must be approved by the insurance carrier.
Beginning the Process: Understanding Your Employer’s Insurance Status
According to Arizona workers’ compensation law: “When an injury occurs, an employer has the right to have an injured worker seen by a doctor of the employer’s choice one time. (If the injured worker returns to that physician a second time, that physician becomes the attending physician.)”
In the case of a medical emergency, you have the right to seek treatment from any doctor or hospital. However, for the initial follow-up non-emergency examination, your employer is allowed to select a doctor of their choice. After this initial examination, you may be able to select a different doctor for all follow-up treatment visits related to your workplace injury.
One exception is self-insured employers with contracted medical care on file with the Industrial Commission of Arizona (ICA), which may require that you be examined by one of their contracted doctors for all visits related to your workplace injury.
To find out if your employer is self-insured, contact the ICA Claims Division at (602) 542-4661.
Arizona Workers’ Compensation GuideFREE E-BOOK
What do you do if you’re injured on-the-job? Our free guide contains knowledge to help the injured worker understand the workers’ compensation application process.
What To Look for When Choosing a New Doctor
If you’ve been given approval to change your workers’ compensation doctor, it’s important to choose the best physician possible. Find a doctor whom you trust and feel comfortable with following their recommendations. Also, before filing a request to switch doctors, don’t forget to make sure the physician you are requesting to change to is willing to provide medical care under your workers’ compensation claim.
Consider these factors when selecting a new workers’ compensation doctor:
Does the doctor have experience treating your medical condition? How have they treated patients with similar injuries?
Is the doctor familiar with workers’ compensation claims? Are they comfortable with the process?
Is the doctor prepared to testify in support of your claim (if necessary), and do they accept Arizona’s fee schedule?
Is the doctor a professional and would they make a good witness to support your claim?
Let Our Arizona Workers’ Comp Attorneys Ensure You’re Fairly Represented
At the Law Offices of Robert E. Wisniewski, we can help you find a qualified physician who has maintained a good professional relationship with our clients and our office — and who will ensure your work-related injuries are fully and accurately documented.
If you’re frustrated with your current doctor or don’t trust their diagnosis, give us a call today.
We’re ready to stand in your corner and help you navigate this difficult process.
Best of all, you only pay if we are successful in obtaining benefits for you.
Why hire our Arizona workers’ comp lawyers?
- We understand the special needs of an injured worker
- Trained and helpful staff
- Personal attention to clients
- Calls promptly returned
- Clients kept up-to-date on case
- State-wide service
- Aggressive & experienced representation
- Hablamos español
Get Started With a Free Consultation
“Hi Bob, I sincerely hope you can forgive me for not contacting you before now. I am truly grateful for all you and your staff were able to accomplish for my family and myself. So many thanks Bob, and I pray that the Good Lord will continue to Bless You and all the ones you care for. Never doubt I will always have the highest esteem for you.” – C.N.
Mr. Wisniewski has been recognized as the premier workers’ compensation lawyer in Arizona. He is the only claimants’ attorney recognized as a Fellow at The College of Workers’ Compensation.
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