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Can your employer choose your doctor?

If you are injured on the job in Oklahoma, it is important to understand your rights and to make sure you are properly treated for your injuries. Business Insurance details the recent case that has clarified the laws regarding who chooses the medical provider to treat an employee who is injured at work. This can affect reimbursement for services, so it is especially important if you are already dealing with the financial ramifications of an injury that occurred on the job.

Once your employer knows you have sustained an injury, it has five days to direct you to the preferred medical provider. After five days without treatment, you are able to see the doctor of your choice at your employer’s expense. The new ruling makes it clear that this five-day period for employers is not triggered by a singular diagnosis.

In the recent case, an Oklahoma man suffered a shoulder injury at work in September 2015 and was treated soon after at a clinic. A month later he was also complaining of neck pain to his personal physician and then filed a formal complaint about shoulder and neck injury in October 2015. Since his neck injury was not apparent through X-Ray and MRI reports, only his shoulder injury was admitted for workers’ compensation. In December 2015 the doctor treating the shoulder injury recommended a spine specialist, who ultimately determined that the man did suffer a neck injury at the same time. In March 2016 an administrative law judge agreed that he had sustained a neck injury and determined that the man’s employers had not provided him medical treatment within five days for his neck injury, and allowed the man to seek his own doctor. The Oklahoma Court of Civil Appeals reversed this portion of the decision, ruling that because the employer had no “actual knowledge” of a neck injury (since there was no diagnosis) the five-day treatment period had not been triggered.

While this information should not be taken as legal advice, it can help you understand the workers’ compensation process and what to expect if you suffer a workplace injury.

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