An Injured Worker’s Right to Choose Their Own Treating Physician in Arizona Workers’ Comp
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The issue of choice of doctors has been characterized as “one of the stormiest issues in the history of workmen’s compensation.” Two competing interests clash:
- The interest of the injured worker in having a physician in whom he or she has confidence.
- The carrier’s interest in maintaining control over the quality and cost of the medical care recommended.
The law in Arizona is well settled regarding an injured worker’s right to choose his or her own treating doctor. Unless the employer is self-insured, the employee has a fairly unfettered right to treat with the physician of his or her choice.
To change doctors, all that is required is to file a Request for Change of Doctors with the Industrial Commission of Arizona or obtain the permission of the insurance carrier. The only employers who are able to direct injured workers to physicians of their choosing are those who self insure for workers’ compensation claims.
As attorneys who practice exclusively workers compensation, we frequently recommend to our new clients that they change physicians from the doctor to whom the insurance company has sent them, to a doctor who will be an advocate for the patient, not the insurance carrier.
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