After a workplace injury, you may be asking, “can I see my own doctor for workers’ comp in Illinois?” According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, nearly one in 30 American employees faces a work-related injury or illness. A workplace accident can be traumatic and disruptive. If you are hurt on the job, Illinois law gives you options for medical treatment.
Are Injured Workers Allowed Free Choice of Doctors?
Workers injured on the job in Illinois can pick the medical providers of their choice, although there may be limitations on the specific doctors seen or the number of specialists consulted. Injured employees should learn about these possible restrictions in order to avoid medical bills that may fall outside the scope of workers’ compensation.
What is a Preferred Provider Program?
All workers should ask their employers to confirm whether they have established a Preferred Provider Program. This option allows the employer to set up a pre-selected pool of doctors from which injured employees can choose. If an Illinois employer has established a PPP, employees can select two doctors from within the network.
Is the PPP network my only choice?
A PPP network is designed for long-term care after an accident on the job. Workers can and should seek treatment outside the network in the following cases:
- Immediate emergency care is needed after a job-related incident
- Medical care is needed before the injury is reported to the employer
- Medical care is received by a worker who has decided to opt out of the PPP network
In all of these situations, the injured worker is not bound to the PPP and is entitled to financial compensation for expenses outside the network.
Can I Opt Out of the PPP Network to See My Own Doctor?
Illinois law allows an employee to opt out of the PPP network in writing, either before or after a work injury. The Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission regards this statement as a choice of doctors, leaving the worker able to choose one doctor outside the PPP network rather than two doctors within its boundaries. If you have a close relationship with a medical provider outside your employer’s network, this may be a wise choice. If this medical provider refers you to further specialists, their care is also paid for by Illinois workers’ compensation.
What Medical Care Costs Are Covered Under Illinois Workers’ Comp Benefits?
Under Illinois workers’ compensation laws, employers must cover the costs associated with an employee’s injuries after a workplace accident. This coverage applies regardless of who is at fault for the accident. The benefits provided through a workers’ comp claim cover initial & emergency medical treatment costs, expenses for necessary medical equipment and prescriptions, and long term and rehabilitative care costs.
Can I Get Compensation for Non-Medical Costs After My Accident?
In addition to covering medical care costs, Illinois workers’ compensation benefits make up for other financial hardships directly associated with a workplace accident. These damages include lost wages, future lost wages, and reduced earning capacity. If an employee must transition into a lower paid position due to restrictions after a workplace injury, his or her wages would be supplemented to the previous rate. Additionally, if an employee is forced to seek additional certification, training, or schooling to maintain a career due to the effects of a workplace injury, these costs may qualify for compensation as well.
The Illinois workers’ compensation system allows you to make choices about your medical providers after a workplace accident. Get in touch with a workplace injury attorney at Ankin Law today to find out more about your options.