Every year, tens of thousands of workers in Florida suffer an injury on the job. Most of these require at least some medical care. If it’s a minor issue, it may just be a couple of doctor’s appointments. Serious injuries might require years of treatment – a cost compounded by a potentially lower earning capacity.

Either way, if you’re injured on the job you’ll likely need to see a doctor at least once. But can you choose any physician you like?

Treatment from an authorized physician

Florida law does not give workers much power in these situations. If injured on the job, you are not free to pick any physician you like for treatment (unless you want to pay for it out of pocket). Instead, your choice will be limited to a list of authorized doctors.

These health care providers are authorized by the insurance carrier. In order to get treatment and have workers’ compensation pay for that care, you will have to see one of these medical professionals.

There are a few exceptions

The law does allow for a few exceptions.

For example, if you need emergency care following a work injury, you can get that initial treatment anywhere and it should be covered by workers’ compensation. In addition, if you suffer a non-emergency injury and the insurance carrier does not provide an authorized doctor within a reasonable amount of time, you may have flexibility to choose a physician.

Trusting an insurance-selected doctor can be difficult. How do you know they have your best interests – not the interests of the insurance company – in mind?

In these cases there may be opportunities to switch doctors, but the process is not always straightforward. It is a situation a workers’ compensation attorney can likely help you navigate.