When you are injured on the job, or suffer an occupational disease, your first steps will be to obtain a medical provider and to file an industrial insurance claim. All too often, workers are told by an employer, or someone in a Human Resources department with the employer, that they need to go to a particular medical provider.
Such a statement is misinformation. Under the law, you have the right to choose your own medical provider. You are not required to see any medical provider selected by your employer. Some medical providers even have contracts with employers to see their injured workers. Even in this case, you are not required under the law to see such a medical provider. Moreover, it is questionable whether a medical provider with a contract with an employer has the objectivity to be your best advocate.
Having said this, it is also important to know that any medical provider you choose must be an approved provider under the list of providers provided by the Department of Labor and Industries. You can obtain this list directly from the Department.
If you believe you have a claim, it is important to seek medical attention immediately and to file your claim. If you have questions concerning your right to choose your own medical provider, visit the Department of Labor and Industries website and speak to an experienced worker’s compensation attorney. The medical care you receive and the support from your medical provider will affect your heath and your claim.