I recently had a chat with a nice woman who had gone through three leg surgeries after badly tearing her ACL on the job. That’s a lot of leg surgeries.
She had no guidance when she got hurt and had never even heard of workers’ compensation. So after she got hurt when she got a call from an insurance adjuster who told her what doctor to go to for treatment, she thought that was normal and was just happy not to have to pay the bills.
Following the third surgery her doctor released her to light duty which really doesn’t exist on her job. She contacted me because she’s a bit wiser on the process now and upset that “they are pressuring my doctor” to release her to full duty.
I explained to her that it’s against Illinois Workers’ Compensation Law for the insurance company to talk directly to the doctor about the case and treatment and certainly against the law to try and get them to modify work restrictions. She asked them about this before she called me and was told that since they chose the doctor they can talk to them.
In this case, the hired gun doctor became the treating physician. So even though the insurance company chose him and likes him, once he became the treating doctor (as opposed to an IME doc), they lose their rights to ask questions about medical care, make suggestions, demands or anything else. Once they are a treating physician it’s as if you chose them yourself.
These rules exist so insurance companies can’t pressure doctors in to doing things that are not in the best interests of their patients. This woman could be at risk if she is forced to work in her full duty job. She is only a couple of months from recent surgery and while she wants to get back and is expected to get back to full health, she’s not there now.
So don’t let anyone, except you, ever pressure your doctor.
Bonus point for this post. While this woman seems to have lucked out with a good doctor. Almost every other time I’ve seen an insurance company try to tell you who you have to treat with, it’s worked out badly. You don’t have to do that in Illinois. Sometimes they pick these doctors because they can pay them less. Other times it’s because they can make the doctors say what they want them to say. Whatever the reason, you can bet they aren’t picking them because it’s best for you and your health.
If you have any questions about any of this, fill out our contact form, start a chat or call us for free at 312-346-5578 and you will speak with a lawyer right away. We cover all of Illinois and have been helping people with work injuries since 1997.