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Leep, Tescher, Helfman and Zanze

Can you pick your doctor if you get hurt at work in California?

Different sorts of insurance will apply in different scenarios. If you get hurt in your home, your health insurance policy will cover (at least some) of the cost of your treatment. If you get hurt on the job, then the chances are good that you will need workers’ compensation insurance benefits to cover your costs and provide some replacement income for your lost wages.

While they may cover similar needs, like the need for medical care, the rules for using these benefits are different. If you need medical care through workers’ compensation after an injury on the job, do you have the same right to choose your medical professional as you do when you receive more routine medical services?

Your employer and their insurance provider will dictate the choice

Just like with health insurance policies, different forms of workers’ compensation insurance work with different medical groups. In California, your employer can require that you see a physician associated with their network or even selected by them to get care for a work-acquired injury. 

In some cases, your initial evaluation might take place in a medical office right in your employer’s building. However, if you have a significant disagreement with the doctor selected to provide your care, you do have the option of requesting a second opinion. 

Especially if the doctor in question doesn’t seem to acknowledge your condition or symptoms, getting a second opinion may be very important to you. In a situation where you feel like the doctor’s perception or attitude could result in problems (like denied benefits), talking with an attorney before making any major decisions could protect you and your right to coverage.