Can I see my own doctor after a work injury?

Workers’ compensation benefits can provide you with much needed financial compensation after a work injury that prevents you from doing your job. Although you want to focus on your healing and recovery, you may also be anxiously waiting to return to work and start getting paid again.

After an injury, you most likely want to see your own doctor, especially if it is someone who you have been seeing for many years and trust.

However, the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act states that for the first 90 days after you first seek treatment for your injury or illness, you may be restricted in which doctor or health care provider you can see.

When you must use your employer’s doctor

There are certain steps your employer must take to have a say in which doctor or health care provide you see. They must accept your workers’ compensation claim and provide you with a list of at least six designated health care providers and doctors.

They must also provide you with written notice that you are required to choose a doctor from the list and have you sign the list when you are hired and when you are injured. If your employer completes these requirements, you must choose one of the doctors or health care providers to see for the initial visit and for the next 90 days.

When you can see your own doctor

After the 90-day period expires, you can see your own doctor. If your employer does not do any one of the above steps, you are not required to see one of their chosen doctors and can see your own for your workers’ compensation claim.

You can generally return to work when a doctor determines that you have achieved maximum medical improvement. This means that you have recovered as much as you possibly can from your injury or illness and any additional treatment will not improve your condition.