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Workers' compensation and the choice of doctors in Colorado

After being injured on the job, part of the workers' compensation process is the medical examination and the doctors who perform it. The injured worker will often have questions about this part of the process, such as who will select the doctor and if it is possible to change from one doctor to another. These issues and anything else related to workers' compensation require that the employee be fully protected and follow all the rules as necessary to ensure a fair decision is made on the workers' compensation claim. Legal assistance is critical toward the goal of being approved.

When the doctor is selected, the employer will make that choice. However, many employers give the workers the right of approved alternatives to provide medical treatment. This is known as the "designated provider list."

In some cases, the employer does not designate these medical providers for the employee to choose from and he or she must select one on their own. After filing the claim, the insurer has the right to ask that the worker see a doctor it chooses. The insurer will pay for it. If the worker does not have this examination, the insurer can request a stoppage of the workers' compensation benefits.

Some claimants want to change doctors. This can be done on a one-time basis, if it is within 90 days from the day in which the injury occurred, and the worker has not achieved maximum medical improvement (MMI). This doctor must be on the designated provider list.

There is a form to fill out for this to be done. The worker can also ask to change the doctor at any juncture during the claims process but prior to its closure. The adjuster does not need to allow this, but there must be a response one way or the other within 20 days of the date at which the request was postmarked. Changing doctors without a written approval could result in the insurer refusing to pay for it.

After a workplace injury, workers will have plenty to think about as they seek to regain their health, get treatment and try to recover. Workers' compensation is meant to make that easier. There are important requirements that must be adhered to when applying and getting medical examinations. With these and any other matter related to workers' compensation, it is crucial to have legal assistance from the start.

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