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Can I see my own doctor if I file a workers' comp claim?


When a Montana worker is injured on the job, he or she has the right to collect workers' compensation benefits. One question many injured employees have is whether they can go to their own doctor for treatment after a work-related injury. Unfortunately, in Montana, the worker does not have a say in what doctor they see for ongoing treatment.

The injured worker does have the right to go to his or her own physician for initial treatment after the accident. After the insurer accepts liability, however, it can send the worker to a doctor chosen by the insurance company. The insurer can agree to allow the worker to continue seeing the worker's own doctor. The final choice, however, always belongs to the insurance company.

Thus, rather than being treated by the family doctor they have seen for years, an injured Montana worker may be forced to see a doctor who doesn't know them and may not have their best interests at heart.

The denial of a person's right to be treated by a physician of their own choosing is just one of a number of so-called "reforms" of state workers' compensation systems that have been pushed through state legislatures by employers and insurance companies over the past decade. The net result of these reforms has been to stack the deck against injured workers.

Today, it is more important than ever that injured employees have aggressive legal representation when they file a workers' compensation claim. When the insurance company denies benefits on the basis of a company doctor's report, the worker needs an advocate who will fight for his or her rights in court.

Source: Montana.gov, "Workers' Compensation FAQs," accessed April 14, 2016

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