Generally speaking, yes. In Illinois, you get to choose the doctor you see for your work injury.

It’s not a good idea to go to a doctor recommended by your attorney. Your doctor’s opinion on how you were injured, what type of treatment is reasonable and whether you are ready to return to work are extremely important in a workers’ compensation case. If it looks like your attorney and your doctor are in bed together, it weakens your case and makes your doctor look a lot less credible.

Another thing to keep in mind is the type of doctor you’re seeing. Again, his or her medical opinion will be important, so you want someone with credibility. Often, this means a specialist of some sort. Their specialty should be relevant to your injury and treatment.

Your employer or the insurance company has to pay for 100% of your medical care in Illinois, as long as it is reasonable and related to your work injury. Your medical treatment needs to be seen as reasonable. Some providers on the cusp include chiropractors and those doing experimental medicine. A referral to a specialist might be better. You can get this from your general practice or family doctor.

If coverage is unclear because of the type of treatment you’re seeking, you can try to get the insurance company to agree to the treatment ahead of time. This can save time and delay and a lot of trouble later on. Even if the treatment might seem outside of the box, the insurance company might agree to it because it helps their bottom line. For example, naturopathic care is probably going to be cheaper than having surgery.

As a reminder, the most important aspect in all of this is to look out for your health first and foremost. Be honest with your doctor. Don’t ignore pain or downplay it. If it looks like you’ve been dishonest with your doctor, you’ll lose precious credibility, especially if it comes out in front of the arbitrator.