A workplace injury isn’t just painful and debilitating — it can put your entire future at risk. You need a doctor you can trust to look out for your best interests (not your employer’s). Unfortunately, that’s not always easy to get.
Do you have the right to pick your own worker’s comp doctor in PA?
Pennsylvania law puts much of the control over your initial choice of physician in your employer’s hands. The rules work like this:
- If your employer maintains a list of “designated health care providers,” you must choose one of those physicians for your treatment for the initial 90-day period following your injury.
- If your doctor recommends surgery for your condition, you retain the right to choose your own surgeon at any time, even within that first 90 days.
- If you need the care of any kind of specialist and there is none on the employer’s list of designated providers, you can pick your own.
Once the first 90 days have passed, you can then switch to a physician of your choosing after providing the insurer with appropriate notice. In addition, if your employer fails to maintain a minimal list of providers with at least six choices, you are free to choose your own physician at any point.
Can you get a second opinion if you don’t trust the workers’ comp doctor?
You can, but you have to pay for the cost of the visit and any diagnostic tests on your own (unless one of the other above exceptions listed applies).
This does not mean you are entirely powerless over your situation. If you feel that you are being mistreated by your employer or their chosen physician, or that your workers’ comp claim is being mishandled, it may be time to speak to an attorney about your case.