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When may I visit my own doctor for a job-related injury?

female patient talking to her primary care physician

Workplace accidents could require visiting the closest hospital to receive emergency medical care. Your employer may post signs noting where employees should go after an on-the-job injury. A coworker may call an ambulance to take you there.

As noted in the California Department of Industrial Relations’ Guidebook for Injured Workers, you may visit your regular doctor under certain circumstances. If you have predesignated your primary care physician before an accident occurs, he or she may treat you. By providing your employer with information about your PCP, he or she may help you recover from a workplace injury.

How may I predesignate a PCP before an accident occurs?

The Division of Workers’ Compensation allows treatment by a general practitioner or family physician who previously treated you. You may also predesignate a previously seen medical group of licensed doctors or osteopaths.

Your chosen provider, however, must have medical records on file related to your treatment for conditions unrelated to your work. The doctor or medical group must also agree to treat you for conditions that reflect workers’ comp issues. Your designated provider needs to sign and submit DWC Form 9783. This form contains the necessary information your employer must keep on file.

Who pays for my medical care after an on-the-job accident?

The State of California’s website notes that the law requires your employer to cover your medical bills when receiving treatment for a workplace injury. You have a right to relief from a work-related illness or injury. You may receive treatment including surgery, follow-up care and rehabilitation reasonably required to recover. You do not need to worry about paying for their costs.

Employees may exercise their right to predesignate a physician to treat them for work-related injuries and illnesses. California employers must carry workers’ compensation insurance that provides coverage for employees and independent contractors injured while performing work-related tasks.

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