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Can I see my own doctor for workers’ compensation care?

If you work in a physically demanding industry, a workplace accident can leave you seriously injured. Your employer’s workers’ compensation benefits can cover the cost of medical care and lost wages. But do you have to use the doctor your employer requests?

Recovering from a severe injury can mean weeks or months of rest and physical therapy for you. You may want a familiar doctor to provide that medical care for you. But for your company to pay workers’ compensation benefits, New Jersey law limits your options for healthcare professionals.

Your employer chooses the doctor

When your company first approves your claim for workers’ compensation, the law in New Jersey requires you to use one of your employer’s preferred healthcare professionals. To receive benefits, you will have to see one of these doctors for any treatment related to your injury.

Changing doctors when you receive improper care

If the healthcare professionals your employer chooses don’t give you proper treatment, you can file a Motion for Medical and/or Temporary Disability Benefits. With this motion, you can change to your own doctor. You can receive the care you need while continuing to collect benefits.

You can see your own doctor after a denial or in an emergency

You can also choose your doctor if your company initially denies your request for benefits. Once an appeal or a lawsuit reverses the denial, your employer must pay for any treatment you received for the workplace injury, even if it is not from their preferred doctor.

And if your injury is an emergency and you don’t have time to notify your employer before seeking care from an unapproved physician, you can ask for reimbursement through workers’ compensation.

When you’re dealing with a serious, debilitating injury, going through the process to collect workers’ compensation and get the care you deserve can be especially challenging. Understanding your rights is an important first step.

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