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The importance of choosing a good doctor

In Louisiana, workers injured on the job can choose their own doctor for treatment, although your employer and/or insurer may not necessarily want you to. For example, your employer might give you a printout of doctors it has "approved."

That said, the emergency room is where you might get your first recommendation, from ER personnel. If your injury did not require you to go to the ER, perhaps your employer or primary care physician made recommendations. No matter what, though, state law gives you the power to choose your own doctor for treatment. This choice could end up even more important than you realize.

Changing doctors is hard

Once you have made the choice of which physician, be it a neurologist, orthopedist or another type of doctor, to seek continuing treatment from for your injury, it is difficult to change doctors without possibly hurting your workers' compensation case. So, you really do need to try to get the choice right the first time around.

As a side note, you can choose one doctor for each field you need help with. For example, it could be that you would need to choose both an orthopedist and a neurologist.

There are many interested parties

It can be hard to make the right doctor choice because of all the interested parties. For example, your employer may have prioritized doctors who support its bottom line for inclusion on the "approved" list. Similarly, your primary care physician might refer someone for his or her own reasons or without checking whether the doctor has experience working with workers' compensation injuries, and your insurer may advocate for doctors who will rush you back to work before you are ready to start back.

An attorney who represents you (or who will represent you) is an excellent place to start for recommendations. Attorneys should know which doctors have experience in workers' compensation cases, where wrongly used terminology or poor medical office organization can hurt a case. Attorneys also know which doctors will have your best interests at heart rather than the interests of your insurer or your employer.

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