Trying to figure out how to seek medical treatment following a work-related accident can feel overwhelming, especially if you do not understand the process under the Tennessee Bureau of Workers’ Compensation.
Greg Coleman Law explains how to get the care you need to recover from your injuries, beginning with how your doctor is selected and what you can do if you disagree with his or her opinion.
Our experienced Knoxville workers’ compensation lawyers are here to help you with every aspect of your claim. Our initial consultations are completely free, and if we take your case, we charge no fees unless we are successful in obtaining the benefits you need.
Report Your Injury to Begin the Claims Process
Immediately following your work-related injury, you should seek medical care at the emergency room of the nearest hospital. This examination helps to protect your health and ensure that your injuries are documented as a work-related incident.
Since you only have 15 days from the date of your injury, you should notify your supervisor about the work-related accident as soon as your injuries are stabilized. The appropriate form for reporting the injury to your employer is C-20 KB-0021, and it is found on the Tennessee’s Labor & Workforce Development for your convenience.
Who Chooses My Authorized Treating Physician?
Your employer’s workers compensation insurance carrier is responsible for paying the cost of any reasonable medical care that is related to your claim, including the following:
- Emergency care to stabilize your injuries
- Doctors’ visits
- Physical therapy
- Mileage reimbursement for appointments that exceed a distance of 15 miles in one direction
You are permitted to choose your Authorized Treating Physician (ATP) from a panel of three independent doctors your employer provides to you within three days after you have reported your injury.
The physicians provided by your employer must be deemed as, “qualified, willing and able to treat in a timely manner.” The initial role of this physician is to assess your injury for determining workers’ compensation benefits and your disability rating.
The doctors provided by your employer must all be independent physicians. Whether the panel includes one or more specialists, a surgeon or a chiropractor, none of the three doctors can work for the same clinic or medical association in your community. If there are not three independent doctors in your community, your employer must give you a choice of three independent physicians, surgeons, chiropractors or specialty practice groups within 100 miles of your community.
After selecting your ATP, you supervisor will provide form C-42 LB-0382s for you to sign. This document is simply an acknowledgement that you agree to be treated by the doctor you have chosen. You may download this same document, also called the Employer/Employee Choice of Physician form, online if your employer does not give it to you directly. If you do not provide this signed document, your consent will likely be considered automatic from your first appointment with the ATP.
Keep all of your medical records as you receive treatment since they will be important for your workers’ compensation claim.
Can I Change Doctors or Get a Second Opinion?
When you select your ATP, you are agreeing not to see another medical provider unless your chosen doctor provides a referral.
If you disagree with your ATP’s findings or recommended medical treatment, you can request a referral. In some cases, you may be permitted to select a different ATP. However, you always have the option to seek a second opinion or visit another doctor at your own expense.
What Happens if My Treating Doctor Says I Need to See a Specialist?
If your authorized treating physician refers you to a specialist, the employer can accept the referral or provide you with a new panel of three specialist physicians who are not associated.
How an Attorney May Strengthen Your Workers’ Comp Claim
If you are concerned that your ATP may not be providing optimum care to help you recover, it may be time to contact a reputable attorney. At Greg Coleman Law, we are prepared to help you achieve the proper medical care and workers’ compensation benefits you need.
Our knowledgeable legal team is prepared to assist you with all aspects of your claim, such as:
- Helping you to file your claim
- Helping you appeal your claim if your initial application for benefits is denied
- Handling third-party communications on your behalf
- Scheduling an independent medical examination
We provide a free, no-obligation consultation to discuss your claim. We only get paid for our services if your claim is approved, so you have nothing to risk by contacting us.
Call for help with your workers’ comp claim today. Free consultation: (865) 247-0080