Following a serious accident in the workplace, you need top quality medical care from a doctor you can trust. This raises an important question: Can you choose your own doctor after a work injury in California? The short answer is ‘it depends’—you can predesignate a personal physician in certain circumstances. In this article, our Fresno workers’ compensation attorney explains the key things you should know about doctor predesignation.
To start, it is important to emphasize that injured workers in California have a right to comprehensive medical treatment. If you were hurt on the job, workers’ comp insurance covers all medical treatment that is “reasonably necessary.” All workers have a basic legal right to receive high quality, professional emergency treatment, follow-up medical care and rehabilitative support after an accident.
In California, there is an overriding presumption that injured workers will be treated by a doctor who is within their employer’s medical provider network. Put another way, your employer will select your physician. However, employees can effectively “opt-out” of this regulation in certain circumstances. You can select your own doctor if you meet the following three criteria:
- You pre-notify your employer in writing that you want to be treated by your own personal physician if you are hurt on the job;
- Your personal physician agrees to the “predesignation” by signing the proper forms; and
- Your health insurance coverage does not come from your own employer.
Of course, a significant number of people in California are covered by health insurance that they obtained from their employer. Unfortunately, you do not have the right to predesignate a personal physician for the purposes of work injuries in California if you are on an employer’s health insurance plan.
If you are eligible to predesignate a personal doctor and you are interested in doing so, it is crucial that you complete and submit the proper forms. As the name suggests, predesignation must be done ahead of time. You cannot suddenly decide to select your own doctor after a workplace accident has already occurred.
To predesignate a doctor for workers’ comp in California, you should generally use the following form: Notice of Predesignation of Personal Physician (DWC Form 9783). While you can also satisfy the state requirement by submitting your own written statement directly to your employer, it is best to protect yourself by using the official form published by the State of California.
Call Our Fresno Work Injury Lawyer for Immediate Help With Your CaseJoseph C. Yrulegui is a skilled, results-centered California workers’ compensation attorney. If you have any questions about doctor predesignation or choosing your physician after a work injury, we can help. Call us now or contact us today for a no cost, no obligation review of your case. We represent injured workers throughout the area, including in Fresno County, Mariposa County, Merced County, Tulare County, Kings County, Mono County, and Inyo County.