If you are injured on the job in Virginia, then worker's compensation exists to provide coverage to you for any lost wages that you may suffer as a result of your injuries from that incident.
In addition, worker's compensation is also responsible for paying the costs for any, and all medical treatment that you have to undergo as a result of your injuries suffered in the workplace incident. The means by which this takes place is that a single physician, referred to as your authorized treating physician, who is selected by you, is the physician who will be in charge of treating you for your injuries suffered as a result of the workplace incident. This physician will make all decisions related to your treatment, whether you need a referral to an outside specialist, etc.
This physician is chosen by the injured worker from among a panel of at least three physicians supplied by the employer and/or its carrier but, other than providing the names of the panel of potential authorized treating physicians, the employer and/or its worker's compensation carrier has no role as it relates to the treatment that the injured employee receives once the treating physician has been selected. Therefore, although it may seem like supplying the names of the potential treating physicians may give the employer and/or its carrier some say over the process, that is the end of the employer/its carrier's involvement in the medical treatment decision making process after a Virginia workplace injury. This is deliberate, to ensure that it is the treating physician, in conjunction with the injured party receiving treatment, which makes the decisions as to the course of treatment that the injured worker will receive. Virginia law thus deliberately excludes the employer and/or its carrier from the process to ensure they do not seek to influence the medical treatment that is received by the injured worker.
The Process of Choosing an Authorized Treating Physician in Virginia Worker's Compensation Proceedings
The way the process typically works for the selection of a treating physician in a Virginia worker's compensation proceeding is that the employer and/or its carrier provides the suggestions to the injured worker as to which individual healthcare providers may be chosen by the injured employee as his or her treating physician. This might strike some claimants as giving the employer and/or its worker's compensation carrier some say or decision making as to what medical treatment the claimant receives for his or her workplace injury.
However, at the end of the day, the injured worker has complete control over which of those healthcare providers is chosen as the treating physician. The physician that is chosen by the injured worker then serves as his or her treating physician for purposes of the workplace injury and is then in charge of the entire treatment process until the injured worker is determined to have fully recovered from his or her injuries or has reached a point of maximum medical improvement or the best that the injured worker's condition will ever be.
Aside from supplying the names of the potential options as far as the authorized treating physician, the employer has no role and/or say in who will treat the injured employee or what treatment the injured worker will receive. Instead, that decision making authority is vested solely in the authorized treating physician. The employer/its carrier is not permitted to contest whether certain medical treatment authorized by the treating physician is necessary, because that decision is within the sole purview of the authorized treating physician.
Therefore, although supplying the names of the panel of potential authorized treating physicians may at first glance strike a claimant as a conflict of interest, it really is not because that is where the employer and/or its carrier's role in the process of his or her treatment for a workplace injury stops.
Contact the Experienced Virginia Worker's Compensation Attorneys at Kalfus & Nachman
If you have suffered a workplace injury in Virginia, then worker's compensation coverage exists to compensate you for the damages that you suffer as a result of those injuries. Under Virginia law, you have the sole right to determine who the authorized treating physician for purposes of your medical care for your injury suffered as a result of a workplace injury will be.
That physician is then tasked with all responsibility for providing you with the necessary medical treatment for your injuries as a result of the workplace incident or referring you to the appropriate specialist for treatment. This system leaves no room for interference by input from or recommendations from the injured worker's employer, and our experienced Virginia worker's compensation attorneys work closely with our clients' treating physicians to ensure that the employer and/or its carrier do not interfere in any way with our clients' treatment for your injuries as a result of a Virginia workplace incident.
If you have been injured in a workplace incident in Virginia, please contact Kalfus & Nachman today at (855) 880-8163 or through the form on this page to schedule a free consultation.