Last Updated: 3/16/2023
If you have experienced a work injury you technically have a right to see your own doctor, but there are some pretty significant caveats to this statement when it comes to Iowa Workers' Compensation. Your employer and their insurance carrier will typically only pay for medical care that has been approved or authorized by them. In most cases, this means medical care that is administered by the physician or physicians of their choosing. Be sure to ask your company representative before you seek medical treatment for your work injury from a doctor other than the "company" doctor or one chosen under your employer's Iowa Workers' Compensation directives. Before going to your own doctor you should also know that your health insurance provider may reject your claim because it stems from a work injury. This is due to the fact that, technically, Iowa Workers' Compensation benefits should pay for your medical care.
Receiving Medical Help after a Work Injury
According to workers' comp laws in Iowa, the employer has the right to choose the medical care you receive. If you are not satisfied with the care or you have concerns with the treatment being recommended, you should discuss this with your employer.
Only in certain circumstances will an employee be allowed to request alternative care. Even then, your employer or the insurance carrier may deny your request. In this case you would have to appeal the decision to the workers' compensation commissioner.
According to Iowa workers' comp laws, if you receive an impairment rating that you believe is too low, then you have the right to see another doctor. This will be at the employer’s expense, but it will also be of his or her choosing.
What Should I Do If I Am Not Satisfied With Their Doctor?
If you are not satisfied with the level of medical care offered by your employer or their insurance company, you may need to file a petition to receive alternate medical care. This is the process to get a judge to allow you to see a doctor of your choosing and still have it covered by workman's comp. This process can be challenging and you will likely need a qualified, workers' compensation attorney to assist you if it comes to needing to file a petition for alternate medical care.
What if I Don't Want to Have the Recommended Care?
You may be surprised to learn that you also have the right to refuse medical care. You do not have to undergo any procedures or treatment that are recommended for your work injury. For instance, if the company doctor recommends that you have a hip replacement, but you do not want to have surgery, you maintain the right to refuse that medical procedure. However, this could negatively impact your Iowa Workers' Compensation claim so it is important to discuss denying medical care with an experienced Workers' Compensation attorney prior to refusing to have any medical treatment.
How Do I Contact a Workers' Compensation Attorney?
The Iowa Workers' Compensation attorneys at Walker, Billingsley & Bair know the importance of protecting your work injury claim from the get-go. That's why we provide our FREE book; Iowa Workers' Compensation - An Insider's Guide to Work Injuries: 7 Deadly Mistakes To Avoid If You Are Hurt At Work. To learn more about what our legal team will do to help you protect your Iowa work injury claim, contact Walker, Billingsley & Bair to schedule a no-cost consultation. For immediate assistance, call (641) 792-3595 and ask to speak with Corey or Erik.