When you’ve been injured at work, it’s important for you to seek prompt medical attention, but it’s equally important for you to seek medical attention from the right doctor.
Hi, I’m Charles Naylor. I’m a Maritime personal injury lawyer.
Under the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act, you have a right to choose your treating physician, but you only get one free choice, and if you have to change doctors, you have to either get the consent of your employer or an order from the Department of Labor. So you need to choose right the first time.
There are two essential issues for you to consider when choosing a treating physician.
First, the doctor needs to have the right training, experience and skill to help you achieve the best possible recovery from your injury.
Second, doctors now are not just specialized but sub-specialized. For example, there are orthopedic surgeons with specialty training for treating spine injuries, shoulder, knee and hand injuries.
And in catastrophic injury cases, you need a whole team of specialized doctors led by another specialist in rehabilitative medicine. So the first challenge for you is finding the right doctor to treat your injury. Second, the doctor needs to be willing and able to help you prove your claim.
Virtually all Workers’ Compensation Acts, including the Longshore Act, require that doctors provide periodic reports. The doctor needs to be willing to provide those reports, but more importantly, needs to be willing and able to stand up for you in court if your claim is disputed.
Not all well-qualified doctors are willing or able witnesses. Some are well-qualified doctors, but just don’t have the communication skills to handle courtroom work. Others get so much business from insurance companies or employers that when something is in dispute, they can’t be objective.
The best way to find a well-qualified doctor who treats injured workers and will be on your side in the event of a dispute is to contact our attorneys for a free consultation, at no cost or obligation to you. Our attorneys will recommend a doctor who will be right for you and right for your case.