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  • Writer's pictureJohn Larrimer

Navigating Ohio Workers Comp: Changing Doctors in Your Workers' Compensation Case

Dealing with an insurance company for medical care can feel like getting lost. The treating doctor is often the first beacon of hope in this challenging journey. However, most physicians show bias toward the defendant in such lawsuits.

As a result, the injured worker may need to change doctors when claiming worker's compensation. This sudden shift can be overwhelming for many. It's also a complicated legal process.

Hiring a qualified workers' compensation lawyer is always a good idea in such cases. Their expertise can help victims navigate the field with clear knowledge and evidence. They can provide insight on what happens if short term disability is denied.

What Is a Workers Compensation Claim?

What Is a Workers Compensation Claim?

A workers' comp claim is a formal request injured employees make after getting hurt at work.

It's the primary avenue through which injured workers seek financial support to pay off medical bills. This type of reimbursement also offsets lost wages due to the accident to some extent. There are a few critical elements in a workers' comp claim.

The foundation of any such lawsuit must involve workplace injury. This could include the following:

  • Physical and emotional injuries.

  • Illnesses due to chemical exposure.

  • Painful conditions that result from the work environment.

Employers are also legally obligated to provide safety measures to all employees. Injured staff can claim workers' compensation and change doctors if they want to.

Who Can Make a Workers Comp Claim in Ohio?

To be eligible to make a workers' compensation claim in Ohio, the victim must be a registered employee. This means they must have some kind of legal arrangement with an employer.

Independent contractors and volunteers do not qualify for workers' compensation benefits. They are not traditional employees.

How Long Does It Take to Change Doctors?

Changing the treating physician or medical provider in a workers' compensation claim can be long.

The lawsuit passes many parties, notifying all about the issue. This includes informing the current treating physician, the workers' compensation insurance company, and the Ohio Bureau of Workers Compensation (BWC).

In some cases, the BWC might request an independent medical examination to assess the injured worker's condition and the need for a change in medical treatment. The mandatory waiting period varies, but it falls between 90 days.

Victims usually want to change their treating doctor if the authority figure shows unfair bias to the employer. In such events, the insurance company may deny the compensation claim entirely.

It's important to note that the injured worker should not seek treatment or medical care from any other provider without the BWC and the employer's insurance company's permission. This may result in exorbitant medical bills from previous medical providers.

A workers' compensation lawyer can help victims understand the confusing process so they don't break any rules. Workers can choose their own doctor once the court permits them to change physicians.

Almost all states allow victims to change their workers' compensation doctor at least once during the lawsuit. Other states may have specific laws regulating the system.

Why the Victim Should Maintain a Good Relationship with the Treating Doctor

One of the main reasons an injured worker should maintain a good relationship with their treating physician is to ensure constant medical care.

The first-opinion doctor usually has to oversee and provide important medical treatment to the injured worker. They must document the progress and make decisions regarding long-term healthcare.

Also, the court-assigned physician plays a role in the compensation claim. Without them by the victim's side, the employee has a slim chance of recovering substantial reimbursement from the employer's managed care organization.

A treating doctor's medical records also serve as evidence of the injuries and their severity. The insurance company will try to pay out less than what the victim deserves without solid proof.

Three Tips on Finding a New Workers Comp Doctor

When changing providers in a workers comp case, finding the right alternative is critical for the injured employee.

In Ohio, victims must familiarize themselves with workers' compensation laws. Injured workers have to select one of the many occupational doctors from a network of approved healthcare providers.

Seeking Recommendations

Before changing providers, injured staff members can ask their current doctor for recommendations. Also, coworkers who have experienced similar work-injury situations can offer valuable insights. They can help victims understand what they need to do in such lawsuits.

Researching and Verifying Credentials

Plaintiffs must conduct thorough research on potential doctors before they change physicians. It's always a good idea to partner with a reputable medical provider who doesn't show bias to employer organizations. One of our workers comp attorneys can help the victim find a reliable new doctor without breaking the bank.

Scheduling Consultations

Before they start treating, the plaintiff should ask the second-opinion doctor questions about the first treatment. They should also see if the new doctor will testify in court for the workplace accident trial. This interaction helps the victim decide if that specific doctor is right for them.

Is It Possible for Victims to Get a Second Opinion without Changing Doctors?

Is It Possible for Victims to Get a Second Opinion without Changing Doctors?

Injured workers in a comp case can pursue a second opinion without changing doctors. They must inform their current treating physician about it first. Not all states allow this.

A second or third-opinion unauthorized doctor cannot provide medical treatment for the work injury. Instead, they can review the initial treatment case in a paid or free consultation.

They will check medical records and offer recommendations about the injuries. The insurance company will review the second opinion and consider the new findings.

Final Words

Workers' compensation claims can help victims recover treatment-related medical expenses from the defendant. A BWC-certified provider must oversee the medical care and review the injuries sustained.

In this event, the initial doctor can influence the lawsuit's outcome. Unfortunately, an unfair doctor can prevent an injured worker from receiving total compensation from the employer's insurance agency.

Victims who want to switch doctors must wait before they can do so. There are also many legal obstacles along the way.

A lawyer can help employees understand their rights in the workers' comp system. They can make sure the victim gets the medical care they deserve. Expert legal advice can change the game in such a lawsuit.

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