New Jersey is Not a “Free Choice of Doctor” State
While some states allow the injured worker virtual freedom to choose his or her treating physician, that is not the case in New Jersey. The New Jersey employer has the initial right to select a physician (known as the “authorized” physician) to treat the work-related medical condition. Can an injured worker really trust the advice given by someone who may appear to be “the company doctor?” In many cases, the answer is “yes.”
In spite of the fact that the physician has been chosen by the employer (or its insurer), the authorized physician still must maintain a doctor-patient relationship with the injured worker. This means that the physician’s duty is owed to the injured worker – not to the employer. If the authorized physician violates that position of trust, then he or she can be held liable. In fact, in some circumstances, the appropriate governing medical bodies can even discipline the physician. Physicians know this. Most take their doctor-patient relationship quite seriously.
Somewhat Similar to Basic Health Care Insurance
The injured worker may wish unfettered authority to choose his or her treating physician, but one should bear in mind that, with regard to many other health care decisions, the choices may also be somewhat limited. Many health care plans require the employee to choose from a particular panel of “approved” physicians who have agreed to provide care under the employer’s medical plan. A patient may not be able to see a specialist, for example, without a referral from the patient’s primary care physician. Limitations are all a part of the current scenario when it comes to delivering health care.
Doctors Are Human; They Can Be Biased
Doctors are human. They sometimes are biased when it comes to treating certain conditions. The physician with a bad back may subjectively feel that others with similar conditions should “grin and bear it.” It is often difficult for an injured worker to communicate the actual level of pain and discomfort that he or she feels, following a work-related accident. This does not mean that there may not exist some bias, but give him or her the benefit of the doubt.
If you have a real disagreement with your authorized physician regarding your treatment for a work-related injury, it is often imperative that you have a skilled, experienced legal advocate who can communicate with the physician and the employer, or who can seek other appropriate forms of relief for you. This is a battle that you should not fight alone.
You Work Hard; Now Let Us Work Hard For You!
If you have suffered a work-related injury and you feel that the medical care you are receiving is not appropriate for your situation, you owe it to yourself to have strong, experienced legal counsel on your side to protect your interests. At Petro Cohen, P.C., we have both the knowledge and the skill to get the best result possible. We have helped many hard-working folks just like you. Call or contact Petro Cohen Law Firm for a free consultation. Talk with a hard-working New Jersey workers’ compensation lawyer at Petro Cohen, P.C. to find out how to recover money to pay for your medical treatment, physical therapy, and lost earnings.
You can reach us by phone at 888-675-7607, or by completing our online form. We look forward to discussing your situation with you.