When you have been injured at work, it is important for you to seek prompt medical attention, but it is equally important for you to choose the right doctor.
Under the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act, you have the right to choose your treating doctor, but you only get one free choice.
To change doctors, you must obtain your employer’s consent, or an order from the U.S. Department of Labor, so you need to make the right choice the first time.
There are essential issues for you to consider when choosing a treating doctor.
First, the doctor needs to have the right training, experience and skill to help you achieve the best possible recovery from your injury.
Doctors today are not just specialized, they are sub-specialized. For example, there are Orthopedic Surgeons with sub-specialty training for treating spine, knee, shoulder or hand injuries.
Catastrophic injuries such as brain trauma or amputations often require a specially trained doctor to be the quarterback who calls in and supervises the care of many specialized physicians.
Paperwork and Reports
Second, the doctor you choose needs to be willing and able to help you prove your claim. Virtually all workers’ compensation acts, including the Longshore Act, require that the treating doctor provide periodic written reports. Your doctor needs to be willing to provide those reports.
Finally, your doctor needs to be willing and able to stand up for you in court if your claim is disputed. Not every well-qualified doctor is a willing or able witness.
In addition, some doctors receive so much business from insurance companies and employers that they can’t be an effective advocate for you.
Contact the Longshore Injury Hotline for Local Doctor Referrals
The best way to find a well-qualified doctor who both treats injured workers and will be on your side in the event of a dispute is to contact the Longshore Injury Hotline. Based on our 35 years of experience representing injured longshore workers nationwide, we can provide you with a referral to a local doctor in your area.
We also provide free initial consultations and are happy to answer any questions you have about your rights under the Longshore Act. Please call us today toll-free at 888-Longies (888-566-4437), or complete our confidential form to get started.