When faced with a workplace injury, your choice of doctor matters more than you know. Your doctor will play an important role in your healing and securing your workers’ compensation claim.
At Bachus & Schanker, we understand the difficulties you might be facing, and we want to shed some light on the process of selecting the right Colorado workers’ comp doctor. We’ll also help you understand your rights about choosing your own doctor and switching if necessary.
Why doctor selection matters for workers’ comp cases
Your health and well-being are the most important factors in any situation, and choosing the right doctor will help you get the proper care. In Colorado, you will usually have the right to choose your treating physician, but these laws do vary by state.
Choosing your own doctor means you have the right to pick someone who understands your injuries and specific treatment needs. This is important because the doctor you see will directly impact how your workers’ comp case is handled. They will be responsible for providing all the documentation for your injuries and treatment.
Can workers’ comp force you to see their doctor?
In Colorado, your employer is supposed to give you a list of approved doctors or clinics for your evaluation. If they fail to provide the list within seven business days, you can then pick your own doctor.
However, if you don’t feel you’re getting the proper level of care, you have the right to switch doctors or ask for a second opinion. There is usually a process involved, but it can be done. The goal here is to ensure that your medical care is in your best interest rather than the company’s financial interest.
What to expect from a workers’ comp doctor
A workers’ comp doctor should have a good understanding of the legal implications surrounding workplace injuries. When you choose a doctor for a situation like this, you can expect the following:
- Thorough evaluation: Your chosen doctor should conduct a thorough examination to diagnose you and determine your treatment plan accurately
- Treatment plan: Based on the examination, the doctor will develop a treatment plan tailored to your needs. This plan should prioritize your recovery and well-being.
- Documentation: Your doctor should keep detailed records of all your injuries, visits, and treatments. These records will be the most crucial part of your workers’ comp case.
Should you switch doctors?
While we don’t always recommend switching doctors, sometimes it’s important for your own health. If you’re not satisfied with the quality of care you’re receiving, you can and should either switch doctors or get a second opinion. As we stated earlier, there is sometimes a process involved, but we are here to help you through it.
The doctor-patient relationship (DPR) is one of the biggest factors in your recovery, so don’t take your decision lightly. If finding a new doctor becomes necessary for you, we can guide you through the process to ensure you get the level of care you need. Here’s what to look for:
- Trust: This is one of the biggest things to look for in your treating physician. Can you trust him or her with all your health care concerns? Trusting your doctor will make it easier for you to follow their treatment plan.
- Empathy: If your doctor doesn’t understand and empathize with your particular needs, you may never get the level of care you need. In fact, it’s been suggested that “physician empathy improves the therapeutic effect and the patient’s quality of life.”
- Communication: Good communication is the cornerstone of all the requirements a doctor should have. Find a doctor who will listen and effectively communicate the information you need.
IME vs. DIME
IME and DIME are terms you’ll probably hear often during your workers’ comp claim process. It’s a good idea to get familiar with them before your examinations.
IME stands for independent medical examination. This is an evaluation performed by a doctor who is not your primary treating physician. It’s intended to provide an impartial assessment of your injuries and treatment process.
You may be required to get an IME, but your chosen doctor’s opinion will hold more weight in most cases.
DIME, or division independent medical examination, comes into play if there’s a dispute about your impairment rating. A DIME physician will evaluate your medical condition, and their assessment can significantly impact your claim.
Our legal experts at Bachus & Schanker will guide you through this process to make sure your rights are upheld.
When to hire a workers’ comp attorney
As important as it is to choose the right doctor for your workers’ comp injury, it’s even more important that you choose the right Colorado workers’ comp lawyer. At Bachus & Schanker, we recognize your challenges and are here to give you the support and knowledge you need.
This experience is about more than just laws and regulations. It’s also about your health, well-being, and getting the compensation you deserve. With our experience, we can guide you through the process of choosing your doctor and filing your workers’ comp claim.
Injured Worker Guide. (2023).