Lawyers like to believe that they are the most important player in your workers’ compensation claim. That is not the case. Your doctor is the star of this show, which is why it’s imporant to seek out an experienced, reputable physician when you are injured at work. Not all doctors understand workers’ compensation claims. There are even more than a few doctors that won’t even treat you if you are treating for a work injury. I recently reviewed a note for one of my clients where the doctor wrote in the chart that she does not accept workers’ compensation claims and that the injured worker should return to her employer’s occupational medicine doctor for further treatment. You have a limited number of physician choices when it comes to a workers’ comp claim. Don’t waste it on doctors like that one!
In your search for a good doctor, you should be wary of treating at “work comp treatment mills” that overtreat and overbill. These providers tend to target immigrant communities that may not be as savvy as others when it comes to choosing a reptutable doctor. Rest assured that the workers’ compensation carrier and the Arbitrator assigned to your case ARE savvy, and will have experience with these providers. If they see excessive treament and billing, then you are likely to end up paying these bills either out of your own pocket, or you will spend a big portion of your disputed settlement paying off their bills, leaving you with almost nothing at the end of your claim.
*** STAY AWAY FROM SHADY WORK COMP TREATMENT MILLS ***
Illinois allows you to pick two doctors. If your employer is part of a Preferred Provider Program, you will get a notice of the program and a list of doctors to choose from. If you don’t want to see one of the doctors in that plan, then you will be limited to one choice outside of the Preferred Provider Program. DO NOT WASTE THESE CHOICES. Any reputable, experienced workers’ compensation lawyer should have a list of excellent doctors that have experience treating work related injuries. Your lawyer should be more than willing to give you a list of good doctors and encourage you to research them . Then you should both sit down and talk about which doctor would be best for your particular situation. Choosing the right doctor at the beginning of your claim will go a long way in saving you time, money and frustration.
If you would like to know more about how workers’ compensation law works in Illinois, you can read all about it in my new book: The Illinois Workers’ Compensation Law Field Guide. The book is available via Kindle and in paperback. You can also reach out to me if you find yourself in a bad situation with a workers’ comp claim, or if you’ve been injured at work and want to start off on the right foot. All initial consultations are free of charge. I look forward to hearing from you!