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Can I Choose My Own Doctor in my Workers Compensation Case?

If you have an Arizona Workers’ Compensation claim and you are treating with a doctor that the insurance company sent you to, you should know that in most cases you have the right to change doctors to a doctor who is independent of the insurance company.  That is a right that the insurance company will never tell you about!  The only employers who can direct the care of their injured workers are those that are “self-insured”, such as Fry’s, Safeway, and Wal-Mart, along with a few others. 

When most workers sustain an on the job injury in Arizona, they are sent by their employer to an industrial clinic such as Concentra, MBI, or Banner Occ Health.  Our experience is that these clinics usually give a minimal amount of medical care and then release the person back to regular work – even if you’re not ready or need more treatment.  They often are more concerned with saving the insurance company money than providing the injured worker with quality medical care.  Arizona law requires the injured worker to submit to one exam with these clinics, but after that initial exam, you are free to choose your own doctor. 

As an attorney who practices exclusively workers compensation in Arizona, I almost always recommend that my clients change physicians immediately.  To change doctors, all that is required is the written permission of either the insurance carrier, attending physician, or the Industrial Commission of Arizona.  The easiest way is to complete a form “Request to Change Doctors”.  That form can be accessed by clicking here:  https://www.ica.state.az.us/Claims/Claims_Request_to_Change_Doctors.aspx  The Industrial Commission of Arizona’s claims division almost always approves these requests unless it appears that the change of doctors would be detrimental to the injured workers’ health or recovery. 

You want to choose a doctor who specializes in the body part that you have injured.  At our firm, Snow, Carpio, and Weekley, we have a network of doctors in all specialties who work independent of the insurance company.  If you would like a referral to a doctor, please feel free to contact me anytime at chad@snowcarpio.com or visit our website!