One of the most frequently asked questions about Louisiana’s workers’ compensation system is “Can I choose my own doctor?” The answer is generally yes, but there are some important limitations.
In an emergency situation, you must get medical attention as soon as possible, without worrying too much about cost. In a non-emergency situation, you can choose your own doctor for up to $750 worth of medical treatment. After the cost of your treatment exceeds $750, your medical provider must be approved by your employer and/or your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance provider, unless the treatment is provided under emergency conditions.
You can also choose to go from one specialty to another without first needing approval. For instance, you may have to see a podiatrist for your foot and a dermatologist for the skin on your hand. You can go from one to the other without needing to get approval first. However, you will need to seek pre-approval to switch doctors within a medical specialty. For instance, you will have to check with your employer or insurance before switching from one dermatologist to another.
In a non-emergency situation, you probably should check with your employer or your insurance provider before you see the doctor. It’s possible there are limitations under your employment contract or insurance policy.
Employers sometimes require workers to see medical providers of their own choosing. Sometimes, these doctors give a second opinion that conflicts with that of the doctor you chose. In these cases, you may need an independent medical examination.
Navigating the bureaucracy of workers’ compensation can be difficult even for people in good health. When you are injured or ill, it can seem overwhelming. An attorney with experience in workers’ compensation can help workers at many stages of the process.