Can I choose my own doctors to treat a workplace injury?

Know your workers' comp rights.

Your employer or your employer's insurance company must pay for your medical treatment for a work-related accident or injury. Many employers provide a "helpful" list of recommended physicians and clinics. Some employers will even insist that you use their preferred health care providers.

Don't be fooled or pressured. Under Maryland workers' compensation law, you are free to choose your own physicians. Period. If you get any pushback, contact a lawyer.

In Maryland, injured workers control their medical care

This is not the case in many states, where employers or insurers dictate which physicians their employees can see. They are not necessarily bad doctors. The problem with "preferred lists" of providers is that (a) it can limit your access to needed care and (b) those doctors are beholden to the employers and insurance companies who send business their way. They are more likely to downplay injuries or send injured workers back to work prematurely.

If your injury is covered under Maryland workers' comp, you can choose your own medical providers, from specialists and surgeons to physical therapy and chiropractic. There are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Insurers must honor your choice of doctors, but they may deny or challenge specific treatments.
  • The Workers' Compensation Commission sets reimbursement rates. Your doctors cannot charge you extra to cover the difference.
  • Some doctors do not accept workers' comp cases. Ask up front.
  • The insurance company can require you to submit to an "independent medical exam" conducted by one its preferred doctors

Talk to attorney about your work injury

Even when you choose your doctors, employers and insurers can undercut your claim or interfere with your recovery from a job injury. The attorneys of McGowan & Cecil can protect your rights in all stages of the process, from fighting claim denials to negotiating disability settlements. Our Laurel law firm handles workers' compensation cases in the D.C. area and throughout Maryland.

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