Employee’s Right to Choose a Doctor After an Injury

After an injury on the job, employees understandably have many questions and concerns. Michigan’s workers’ compensation system is designed to provide injured employees with a source of benefits after being injured in a work-related accident.

According to Michigan’s Department of Labor & Economic Growth (DLEG), through the workers’ compensation system, injured workers are entitled to:

  • Lost wages
  • Medical treatment
  • Vocational rehabilitation services.

An employer and its insurance carrier are required to furnish reasonable medical, surgical, and hospital services and medicines or other treatment recognized by Michigan laws as legal, when they are needed.

After 10 days from the start of medical care for the work injury, the employee may treat with a physician of his or her own choice by giving to the employer the name of the physician and his or her intention to treat with the physician.

If the employer or its insurance carrier fails, neglects, or refuses to provide medical care, then a workers’ compensation magistrate may order the payment of attorneys’ fees at the contingent fee rate paid by the employee.

Michigan has a schedule of maximum charges for medical care and treatment. A health care provider may not “balance bill” an injured worker if the bill has been paid pursuant to the law.

A very common problem arises when an employer or insurance carrier refuses to provide pre-authorization to a medical provider for treatment to an injured worker. An employer or insurance carrier should be required, at a minimum, to provide a letter to the doctor specifically indicating that the injured worker has an open claim and that medical care related to the injury will be paid in accordance with the law. If an employer or insurance carrier refuses to provide appropriate claim information to the medical provider, and treatment is refused, an experienced workers’ compensation attorney should be consulted.

It is important to understand that employers and insurance companies do have the right to periodically request that the injured worker submit to a physical examination with the doctor of their choice. However, after ten days from the start of medical care, the employer does not have the right to choose a medical provider for an injured worker.

While you should immediately inform your employer of an injury on the job, the DLEG also recommends that you keep your employer updated on the status of your injury and progress of your recovery as well.

Most workers’ compensation claims are resolved quickly, but there are occasions where an employer or insurance carrier disputes the claim. If your claim is denied, contact an experienced workers’ compensation attorney to discuss your options.