Can I see any doctor for my work-related injury?

On Behalf of | Apr 26, 2024 | Workers' Compensation

Workers’ compensation laws are designed to cover the costs of medical care, wage replacement and other specific concerns to employees who suffer an injury or illness as a result of their employment-related activities. Does an injured worker have the freedom to choose any doctor for their treatment if they are hoping to secure workers’ compensation benefits for such harm? 

The answer to this question is nuanced. When an injury first occurs, Connecticut workers’ compensation law allows employees the right to receive emergency medical treatment from a healthcare provider of their choice. This initial freedom to choose is crucial, as timely medical attention can significantly impact the recovery process. However, the ability to continue seeing a doctor of one’s choosing after emergency treatment is subject to certain restrictions.

Post-emergency care

After emergency treatment, if the employer has a designated medical panel, the worker is generally required to select a doctor from this panel to be evaluated. A medical panel is a list of healthcare providers that the employer has pre-selected. The purpose of this list is to ensure that the treatment provided to injured workers meets certain standards and is cost-effective. But, this does not mean that workers will be forced to see a member of this panel after they have been initially evaluated. 

If the employer does not have a designated medical panel, then the employee may continue to see their doctor of choice. It’s important to note that regardless of the doctor chosen, the medical provider must be authorized to practice in Connecticut and should have experience in treating workplace injuries.

If an injured worker wishes to change doctors at any point after the initial treatment and is limited by a medical panel, they can request a change through the Connecticut Workers’ Compensation Commission. A request will typically be granted unless there is a compelling reason to deny it, such as evidence that the change would not be beneficial for the worker’s health or recovery.

While injured workers in Connecticut do have some ability to choose their own healthcare provider, there are limitations, especially after initial treatment. As such, it can be helpful to remember that seeking personalized guidance, should questions arise, is always an option.