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Injured at Work? Three things you need to know

Published on October 2nd, 2013

Patrick Brooks, JD

One of the most frequent questions posed by an injured worker is: “Can I see my own doctor?” The answer depends upon whether one’s employer has a “Preferred Provider Network” or PPN. What is a PPN? Under recent changes to the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act, employers may now create a panel of medical providers for their workers to receive treatment. Under Illinois law, an injured worker generally has a right to treat with two doctors of his or her own choosing. However, with the creation of the PPN this right now has limitations.

After an injured worker notifies their employer of a work injury or files a claim for that injury, the employer must notify the employee in writing of their right to be treated by a doctor of his or her choice within the PPN. If the employee elects to receive treatment from a doctor within the PPN, then the employee has exercised their right to treat with one doctor of his or her choice.

It is important to remember that an injured worker is not required to treat with a physician within the PPN. However, an injured worker who makes a written request to opt out of the PPN will forfeit one of their two choices to pick their own physician for treatment. If your employer does not have a PPN, then you have a right to select two doctors for treatment.

Where an injured worker receives medical treatment has profound consequences not only on the quality of medical care but also how their claim will be handled by an employer or their workers’ compensation insurance carrier. Because this important decision arises immediately after a work injury, it is important that an injured worker speak with an attorney knowledgeable about Illinois Workers’ Compensation Law.

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