So you’ve been injured at work. You file for workers’ compensation, and you receive a doctor appointed by the insurance company. You’re thinking, “Great! My workers’ compensation process is going smoothly so far!” But then you notice the address of your doctor. They live in Raleigh, and you live in Wilmington. That’s a solid two-hour drive away, possibly longer if there’s a lot of traffic (and let’s face it, there’s probably going to be traffic). Are they allowed to do that? Do you have to see this doctor?
Here’s the thing: The workers’ compensation carrier is allowed to appoint whichever doctor they see fit; however, there are a couple of steps you can take to make this process less of a hassle.
- You can request to see a different doctor. If you appeal to your employer and their insurance company, they may choose to change doctors. If that fails, you can then appeal to the Industrial Commission. They will take your case into consideration and decide whether or not to allow you to change doctors.
- You can seek reimbursement for travel expenses. In some cases, you may have to travel a great distance in order to seek the best care for your injury. In this case, it’s good to know that if you travel more than 20 miles round trip to visit your doctor, you can be reimbursed at a rate of 54 cents per mile. (These rates differ year-by-year. Be sure to find out the rate for the year in which you traveled).
Don’t let the insurance company push you around. If you’re appointed a doctor who lives far away, make sure you are taking the proper steps to receive reimbursement or to be assigned a doctor who is closer. Working with an experienced attorney can help make sure you’re on the right track and that someone is on your side fighting for your rights.
If you’re appointed a doctor whose office is far away from you, there are steps you can take to ensure that your doctor is reassigned or that you’re being reimbursed. Talk to an experienced attorney at Oxner + Permar for a free consultation.