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Choosing your own doctor in Ohio workers’ compensation cases

What happens when you’re hurt in a workplace accident and your employer tries to steer you to a doctor of his or her choosing?

Don’t you have the right to choose your own doctor?

Actually, you do — at least to a certain extent. According to the rules established by the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) in Ohio, you have the right to see any doctor for your initial visit. That’s a necessary protection since many injured workers need emergency care. After the first visit, you have the right to see any physician you want — so long as that physician is a certified by the Ohio BWC.

Your employer may simply be offering you information to help guide you to a physician that other injured employees have used in the past. On the other hand, your employer may be trying to steer you to a physician that has a reputation for being critical of workers’ comp injury claims in general or who always seems to put company interests ahead of the interests of the injured.

Remember — a doctor who makes a significant portion of his or her income through company referrals knows that income can dry up if he or she is too accommodating to the injured. For that reason, it’s always best to view your boss’s attempts to steer you to a specific doctor with suspicion.

When you’re injured, and it affects your ability to earn a living, you need to choose a doctor that you trust to provide your care. You want someone who will take the time to listen to your complaints, evaluate them properly and offer a treatment plan that’s right for your needs — regardless of how it affects the company.

Navigating your way through a workers’ compensation claim can seem overwhelming. An attorney can relieve you of some burdens and help you through the process.