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The Role of Your Workers Compensation Doctor: Whose Side Are They On?

You may be wondering if your employer’s insurance company is the one choosing the doctor who will treat you, how impartial will their diagnosis and treatment be?

Navigating the process of getting compensated for your work injury can be stressful and overwhelming. In Missouri, you generally have to be evaluated and diagnosed by a doctor selected by your employer. So, you may be wondering, if your employer’s insurance company is the one choosing the doctor who will treat you, how impartial will their diagnosis be? Is there a chance that they will try to minimize your injury’s seriousness and “kill” your claim to the benefit of the insurance company?

workers comp doctor

The Role of a Workers Compensation Doctor

Although your employer or their insurance company has the right to select the doctors who will treat injured workers, it doesn’t mean that they also have a say in the medical diagnosis and treatment. The health provider is responsible for diagnosing and treating you based on their independent medical judgment. 

That said, the insurance company can ask for another opinion if they disagree with the doctor’s treatment.  

Your workers’ compensation doctor plays a major role in your case. Not only will they evaluate and diagnose you, but they also monitor your health and determine how much time you need off work or if you need to put on light duty

The decision the doctor makes can significantly impact your workers’ compensation case. 

  • They determine your work restrictions: Your doctor decides how much time you need off work when you can return and if you should follow any work restrictions. 
  • They determine the level of permanent disability: After you’ve reached MMI (maximum medical improvement), your doctor will determine whether you have a permanent limitation and you can qualify for disability benefits. 
  • They provide evidence for your case: The insurance company will look for every opportunity to dispute your case. The medical reports and files that your doctor issues are essential proof in your case that you can use to get the workers compensation you deserve. 

Is Your Doctor Siding with the Insurance Company?

Doctors take an oath to help and protect patients and keep them from harm’s way. A doctor’s primary responsibility should be to you, the patient, and not your employer or the insurance company. 

However, that doesn’t mean that all workers’ compensation doctors are “patient-friendly.” There have been cases where the doctor seemed to favor the corporation that paid them.  

Protect Your Rights After a Missouri Work Injury

If you think that your doctor is not impartial, then you should discuss this with your St. Louis workers’ compensation lawyer as quickly as possible. They can help ensure that the doctor follows and respects the highest medical standards and works for the patient’s benefit and not the insurance company. Your lawyer can also teach you how to proceed and what to do and say during the medical examinations so that your claim doesn’t get hurt. 

Speak With a Workers Comp Attorney

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Updated: February 19, 2021