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Workers’ Compensation: Why Can’t I Pick My Own Doctor & Treatment?

Close-up of stethoscope and paper on background of doctor and patient hands

New Jersey is one of only a handful of States left that precludes an injured worker from choosing their own doctors and treatment. This law can be traced to the original Workers Compensation Act passed in 1911. At that time, two issues were at the forefront when the original law was designed:

  1. Getting workers to the right doctors when so many are immigrants and/or unable to find the right medical support.
  2. Keeping the costs of medical treatment under control.

For lawmakers at the time, the answer was to require the Employer or Insurance Company to pick the doctors. That way the employee would not have to get involved in finding a doctor and the doctors would only provide necessary treatment since they would be under the watchful eye of those paying their bills.

When we fast forward to today’s workplace, these two considerations are no longer relevant. Workers have access to so many doctors at their fingertips. And with all the specialists out there, one would be hard pressed to argue that workers just can’t find the right doctors.

That leaves us with the cost containment issue. When workers ask why they can’t choose their own medical professionals and treatment, this is always the reason chosen to deny the request. Yet when we analyze this knee jerk reaction, we often find it is without merit. Do insurance companies really think they are controlling medical costs? Medical costs are rising at record rates not just in the general population but in workers’ compensation matters as well. No one is controlling medical costs.

I submit the real reason is not to control costs but to stop treatment thereby controlling costs. When an insurance company sends you to a doctor who doesn’t spend any time with you, doesn’t listen to your complaints, says you are overweight and old, or that your injury will just miraculously heal, this is how insurance companies control medical costs.

They have a stable of bad and Incompetent doctors whose sole job is to tell the worker they don’t need treatment. They are told to treat the exam like a legal case. Ask all the questions about prior medical history, and how the accident happened, and ignore the workers’ complaints. Take an x-ray and if it shows any signs of arthritis, explain how that is not related to the work accident. There are actual real doctors with medical degrees that we know do this routinely: two are Neurologists in North Jersey; one in Jersey City and one in Bloomfield. A psychiatrist in Elmwood Park. And a neurosurgeon in Mt. Laurel. The list goes on and on. Pain management doctors who tell workers nothing can be done.

When you are the victim of this hoax ,you can call us at Levinson Axelrod, P.A. and we will get you to the right doctors and bring this nonsense to the attention of a Workers Compensation Judge who has the power to order the insurance company to get you to a different doctor.

Do not compromise your health because you think the insurance company is looking out for you. We handle workers’ compensation cases throughout the State. No case is too big, too small, too complicated, too costly, or too far for us to handle. We have five Workers’ Compensation lawyers each with over 20 years’ experience and a combined experience of over 130 years. We can get you the treatment you need to get better and back to work. Consultations are always free.

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