Workplace injuries happen every day, and injured employees have a right to expect certain medical and financial needs are met under the state’s workers’ compensation system.
While you technically have the right to pick your own physician in Georgia, your options aren’t really that broad. Your employer can limit your choices to just their own six preferred physicians – as long as they follow the rules set forth by the State Board of Workers’ Compensation.
The fact that many employers don’t follow the rules may give you some leverage that you can use to protect your rights. Here are some potential challenges you can make:
“The list wasn’t properly posted.”
Your employer has to post a list with a minimum of six physicians at either your place of work or in their main office. Your employer is also supposed to explain your options for choosing a physician from this “Panel of Physicians” that they’ve chosen. If your employer doesn’t have the list posted, you may be entitled to pick your own physician – list or no list.
“The posted list doesn’t meet the legal requirements.”
The panel physician list provided by your employer must include at least one specialist in orthopedic surgery, and it may not contain more than two industrial clinics. The physicians must also be reasonably accessible to the injured worker, including their geographic location.
If your employer’s list doesn’t meet the legal rules, it may not be valid – and that could give you the right to choose your own doctor.
Workers’ compensation is supposed to be a quick, easy answer when you’re hurt on the job – but that’s not always the way it works. If your claim isn’t going well, find out more about your legal options.