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Can you pick your doctor in an Illinois workers’ comp claim?

Depending on where you work, you may or may not have given a thought to what would happen if you were injured. Most people know that workers’ compensation benefits are there to help pick up the medical bills and cover some of their lost wages – but few have a clear idea of how the system works until they need it.

For example, do you know the rules when it comes to obtaining that all-important medical care after an accident or work-related illness?

Illinois uses a “two-doctor rule” for workers’ compensation

Injured workers in this state enjoy much greater freedom than workers in other states to use the physician of their choice when being treated through workers’ compensation. When you file a workers’ comp claim:

  • You can pick any treating provider you want, so long as they are in your employer’s Preferred Provider Program (PPP). If the employer doesn’t have a PPP, then you can pick any provider you’d like.
  • You may change to a second provider at will. Again, you must choose from a medical provider in your employer’s PPP, if they have one. Your employer cannot stop you from changing providers that one time.
  • Any non-emergency treatment you received prior to filing your workers’ comp claim doesn’t count as your choice of provider, nor does emergency care you received.
  • If your chosen provider refers you to a specialist, that specialist does not count as your second-choice provider.

In addition, your employer may not steer you to a specific provider or otherwise interfere in your medical care, so don’t let an employer take charge of your claim that way.

One of the best ways to protect your rights is to stay informed – because employers have a much harder time taking advantage of a situation when employees know the rules. If your workers’ comp claim is being unfairly denied, delayed or diminished, find out what steps to take next.