You’ve recently been injured on the job and now you want to file your workman’s compensation claim. Workman’s compensation can seem confusing and there are so many questions that run through your mind that you may not know where to turn. One of those questions is probably whose doctor do I have to see? In this brief guild, you will find advice on dealing with doctors after filing a workman’s compensation claim in New Jersey.
State by State Law Comparison
Every state differs in their rules as to whose doctor the injured employee must see. A majority of the states, 30 to be exact, allow the employee to use their choice of initial doctor. The other 20 states allow the employer to choose the doctor.
Within these two major categories, the rules can vary even more from state to state. Some states that allow employee choice of doctor, give the employer or state agency power by allowing them to create a list of doctors they find suitable while the employee selects a doctor off of that list to see. In states that give employers choice of doctor, the state agency may be given the power to override the employer’s choice or the employee may be allowed their own choice if a certain amount of time has passed.
New Jersey’s Law
New Jersey is a state where the employer has the initial choice of doctor. Many companies have a specific network of doctors that handle their workman’s compensation claims for them. They choose doctors they can trust to be on their side and handle employee injuries by their standards.
If you are unsatisfied with the doctor chosen, however, or have a dispute about how your company handled your claim, you may want to hire a lawyer from Workman’s Compensation for New Jersey. After that, you can follow your attorney’s advice and file either a formal Claim Petition or an Application for an Informal Hearing with the Division of Workers’ Compensation.
Before you take your case to court, however, you may want to have your personal doctor examine you. When you stand before the judge your employer will have their chosen doctor supporting their case and you will want a doctor who can help defend you.
Interacting with Your Employer’s Doctor
While dealing with your employer’s doctor you should both show up and follow their advice. If you don’t, that evidence may be used against you later in court and diminish your credibility. If you are supposed to stay in bed, don’t go out and about having fun with your friends. Some employers will even go as far as hiring private investigators to make sure you are doing as you are told. You will need as much evidence as possible to be on your side if you want to win your case. Don’t give your opponents the upper hand by not following their medical direction.
Also, be aware that your past medical records may be used against you. If you have a history of shoulder problems and your work-related injury was to your shoulder, your employer’s lawyer may be quick to point out this information to take control of the case. It is a good idea to share your medical history with your own attorney beforehand so that they can better navigate your case and direct the conversation away from any information that may be used against you.
Interacting with Your Own Doctor
Your personal doctor knows your medical issues better than anyone else and, therefore, should be able to help you figure out whether or not you have a case. If something they explain doesn’t agree with what the employer’s doctor told you, you may have a case. Be sure to ask your doctor for duplicates of your medical history as well so that you can share them with your lawyer.
In court, your personal doctor will often end up being your witness and it will be his/her word against the employer’s doctor’s opinion. Make sure that what your doctor has to say supports your case and don’t forget to save the bill; you may need it later on. It helps to take photos of your injury as well, especially if your injury cannot be seen with x-rays.
If you still feel that you have too many questions or need advice, follow this link to Workman’s Compensation for New Jersey: http://workmanscompnewjersey.com/. Just fill out the form on the home page and get connected to a lawyer. You may also want to research past workman’s compensation cases in New Jersey that are similar to yours. You can learn from their cases and better your chances of winning your case.