Your health is important – and that’s why you’re particular about who is in charge of your medical care. You trust your primary care physician to have your best interests at heart, and you trust their skill when it comes to directing your care.
So, why would you go to see anybody else when you’ve been hurt on the job? Well, for the most part, it’s because you don’t have a lot of choices – at first.
You have to start where your employer sends you
Connecticut’s workers’ compensation laws give injured workers the right to choose their own treating physician – but only after they are seen by a doctor or facility chosen by their physician.
This may feel like a very unnecessary hoop to jump through if you already know that you want to stick with your regular doctor, but you have to go through it if you want your workers’ compensation benefits to be paid. If you refuse, you essentially forfeit your claim.
The good news is that you do not need your employer’s consent to see whatever physician you prefer after that initial visit is over – although you must choose a doctor that is part of your employer’s medical care plan, if they have one. (Since most employees see physicians that are part of their company’s insurance plan in the first place, this probably won’t negatively affect you in any way.)
It’s entirely possible that your employer may try to convince you to stay with the doctor or clinic that they sent you to immediately following your injury. If so, you should immediately be suspicious that the physician or clinic in question is known to be “employer-friendly,” and not overly sympathetic to workers. Don’t allow yourself to be pressured into following their lead, since that’s rarely to your advantage.
Exploring your legal options when you’re injured, scared and not working may seem overwhelming, but there is help available.