Q Can I see a specialist while I am receiving benefits under workers’ compensation?
Under New Jersey law, an employee injured on the job is entitled to receive all necessary and reasonable medical treatment for his work-related injuries to be paid through workers’ compensation. This can include doctor visits, prescriptions, hospitalization, diagnostic tests, and rehabilitation services. It should also include paying for a specialist if an employee needs to see one. However, an injured worker may have to fight to get the specialist’s treatment he is entitled to.
Doctors an Injured Worker Can See Under Workers’ Compensation
Under New Jersey law, the employer has the right to pick the doctors an injured worker sees. There are two exceptions to this rule:
- The employee can pick his own doctor if the employer inappropriately refuses to provide medical treatment.
- The employee requires emergency medical treatment. However, the employee must notify the employer as soon as possible as to the medical treatment needed.
Often an employer will refer an injured employee to its workers’ compensation insurance carrier for a referral to a doctor. These physicians are often company doctors or under contract with the employer or the insurance carrier. They may have an anti-injured worker mentality where they believe employees fake their illnesses or try to claim that the injury was pre-existing. They are also under pressure to keep costs down and may try to see as many patients as possible in a day, not giving the injured the time they need. Diagnostic tests or referrals to specialists could be delayed or denied.
However, workers do have legal rights if they are not receiving proper medical treatment. A worker can file an Employees Claim Petition with the Division of Workers’ Compensation. The Division has over 50 judges throughout New Jersey to hear disputes regarding workers’ comp claims. A Claim Petition should be heard by a Judge within 30 days of when it is filed.
If you were injured on the job, it is important to have an experienced workers’ comp attorney on your side to help you fight for the medical treatment and other compensation you deserve. Manfred F. Ricciardelli, Jr., has been practicing workers’ compensation law for 20 years and has been helping workers like you get the settlements they are entitled to under the law. Call him at 877-360-0183 or start an online chat for a FREE consultation.