Choosing a Doctor
Don't Let New York Workers' Comp IME Doctors Downplay Your Job Injury or Illness
Hard-working New Yorkers often don't complain about pain or injuries, especially those caused by workplace accidents. But doctors, workers comp insurance companies, the Workers Compensation Board, and Administrative Judges can only go by what you tell them. Don't let them minimize your job-related injuries-tell them exactly what occurred, all your symptoms, and make sure they record them in your medical file. Otherwise, your workers comp claim may be denied.
That’s why you need a workers’ compensation attorney on your side who knows the system and knows how to advocate for the treatment you need.
Can you choose your doctor for a work injury in New York?
The short answer is “yes.” New York law does not allow employers to decide which doctor you see for an on-the-job injury. In general, you may see any healthcare provider authorized by the Workers’ Compensation Board to treat work injuries, and you are free to change doctors at any time. Authorized doctors have been through a training and certification process to make sure they are equipped to handle occupational health.
There is one exception: if your workers’ compensation insurance company has a preferred provider organization (PPO), then you have to see a doctor in the PPO for the first 30 days after the injury.
The insurance company can require an “independent” medical exam
While the insurance company can’t choose your treating doctor after a job-related injury, they may send you for an "Independent Medical Exam" or IME, which becomes core documentation for your entire workers' comp case.
Unfortunately, “independent” is somewhat of a misnomer. The New York Times recently reported that independent medical examiners are “often anything but independent, since they are picked and paid directly by insurance companies.” That means the “IME” doctor works for your employer’s insurance company—not for you. As a result, they often help the workers’ compensation insurance company find reasons to deny treatment or otherwise reduce costs.
You do have certain rights with regard to an IME. First, you must be given at least eight days’ notice. You have the right to bring a witness and to have the exam audio or videotaped. After the exam, the IME doctor must mail a report to both you and the insurance company at the same time, within 10 days.
When You Hire Us, Workers' Compensation Doctors Will Finally Take You Seriously
At Pasternack Tilker Ziegler Walsh Stanton & Romano, LLP, we're on your side. We will fight as hard as possible to ensure that any IME doctors, orthopedic surgeons, vocational therapists, or behavioral therapists you see will fully understand your workplace injury.
Call us toll-free today at (800) 692-3717 to talk about your job injury. We help clients from Staten Island, Long Island, Brooklyn, and Queens to Westchester, Rockland, the Bronx, and Manhattan.