Rhode Island workers’ compensation laws allow injured employees to select the medical provider of their choice for treatment of their injuries. However, if employees want to use a provider other than the one assigned by the employer, the costs may not be covered under workers’ compensation benefits—especially if the first doctor says that the injury was not sustained in the course of their work.
What to Do If a Doctor Says Your Injury Was Not Work-Related
You should know that your employer can compel you to attend an appointment with a medical provider to assess the nature of your injuries in the course of your workers’ compensation claim. However, that does not mean you have to treat with the employer’s physician for all of your injury care. If the employer’s chosen medical provider has said that the injury is not work-related, you have every right to select your own doctor for an impartial diagnosis.
Employees may need a second medical opinion in cases involving:
- Employer conflicts. If the doctor you are seeing relies on referrals from your employer, he may claim that you can return to work as soon as possible or that your injuries are not serious. This is a conflict of interest and warrants a second opinion.
- Occupational illnesses. A doctor may have difficulty determining how much of your condition was caused by your lifestyle versus a hazard at work. For example, if you are a smoker and work in a factory that produces hazardous chemicals, your doctor may deem that your respiratory condition was caused by smoking rather than inhaling noxious fumes.
- Previous injuries. A doctor may wrongly believe that your current injury was influenced by your previous medical history, or even that your injury is just a “flare up” of your condition and unrelated to your work. You may need to consult with a specialist to determine the link between prior and existing injuries.
Have You Been Injured On The Job In Rhode Island?
If you've been hurt at work you need to speak with an experienced workers' compensation lawyer as soon as possible. Please contact us online or call our Warwick office directly at 401.946.3200 to schedule your free consultation. We help work injury victims in Providence, Warwick and all areas of Rhode Island.