Workers’ compensation is supposed to be an easy, no-fault system on which injured workers can rely after they’ve been hurt on the job.
Unfortunately, insurance companies and employers will employ a lot of tactics to keep their bottom lines low, and that can include unfairly denying legitimate workers’ comp claims. Having a good doctor on your side when you’ve suffered a workplace injury can be critical when you’re fighting for the benefits you need.
You can pick your own doctor, but your employer also has rights
Unlike many other states, Delaware protects the injured worker’s right to choose their own treating physician after a workplace injury.
As an injured worker, you have to give written notice to your employer (or their insurance company) of your intention to seek medical treatment within 30 days of your injury.
In addition, your employer retains the right to require you to attend a consultative examination with a doctor of their choice. That doctor is supposed to be unbiased, but many are keenly aware of how their paychecks are funded. That physician can argue about the extent of your actual injuries, whether they are truly related to your workplace duties and even whether your treatment, medication and doctor visits or physical therapy are needed.
What if your employer is trying to force you to use a company doctor?
Employers have a legal obligation to make their workers aware of their rights. However, many employers are quite willing to exert pressure on their injured workers to “toe the line” and see a company doctor instead of their own physician.
If you’re concerned about your rights under workers’ compensation, working with an attorney is the best way to protect your interests.