How Many Doctors Can I See and Still Be Covered Under Workers’ Compensation?

Office WorkersTwo of the most common questions that people ask when seeking workers’ compensation are:

  1. “Can I see my own doctor for workers’ compensation claims?”
  2. “Can I see a doctor in another state?”

There are two factors that determine the answers: referrals and the preference of your employer.

Referrals

According to the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act, you get two choices of doctors as long as your employer does not have a Preferred Provider Program. It is important to note that this entitles you to two “chains” of doctors — so if one of your two initial doctors refers you to another physician, you can see them without it exceeding your maximum choices. If you choose another doctor and have not been referred to them by one of your initial two choices, your employer will be free of liability for your medical care, even if the injury in question is work-related.

Employer Preference

If you have been injured in the course of your employment, you have the right to be treated by the doctor of your choice — however, your employer has the right to send you to a doctor of their preference for an evaluation as well. This is called an Independent Medical Examination, or IME, and the goal is to have the doctor assess whether your injury is causally related to your job, whether further treatment is needed, and whether you can return to work.

If you do not attend the IME, then your workers’ compensation benefits could be terminated. It is important to note that you must receive adequate notice prior to the IME, with adequate notice being defined by the circumstances of your injury rather than by an absolute period of time. The employer must also provide pre-paid travel expenses to the IME, typically in the form of mileage costs.

Contact Rubens and Kress

Rubens and Kress is a Chicago law firm concentrating in workers’ compensation cases. We can help you navigate the intricacies of Illinois workers’ compensation law, from your options when choosing doctors to employee rights throughout the process. For more information, contact Rubens and Kress online, at (312) 201-9640, or toll-free at 1-800-890-9640.