Navigating Your Work Injury: The Importance of a Workers' Compensation Doctor

An injured worker grabs his ankle in the background with discarded hard hat in the foreground.

Make sure you have a physician who knows the workers' compensation system

If you've never been injured at work before, you may be surprised by how complex and challenging the workers' compensation system can become. You need to report the injury to your employer as soon as possible and file certain paperwork with the NYS Workers' Compensation Board. And you need a formal diagnosis of your injuries from a workers' comp doctor in order to begin treatment and access the other benefits you are entitled to receive by law.

That's why it's so important to see a physician with experience dealing with the workers' compensation system. Island Musculoskeletal Care (IMC Bone Doc) has the experience and knowledge needed to help you recover from your work injury. The sooner you see a workers' comp doctor, get your injury diagnosed, and begin treatment, the better.

Remember, in New York, you are allowed to choose your doctor

Injured workers in New York are generally allowed to see any doctor authorized by the Workers' Compensation Board to treat work injuries. Neither your employer nor their insurance company can require you to see a specific doctor or choose from a list of doctors for your diagnosis and treatment. That choice is yours.

The only exception is that certain types of workers' compensation insurance plans can require you to see an in-network doctor for the first 30 days after the work injury. However, you are free to choose any doctor within the network and to switch to another in-network doctor at any time. After 30 days, you can see any doctor authorized by the Workers' Compensation Board, in-network or not.

Workers' compensation pays for the full cost of reasonable and necessary treatment

When you go through workers' comp, the entire cost of reasonable and necessary treatment for your work injury is covered. There are no co-pays, deductibles, or any other out-of-pocket expenses. This includes surgery, follow-up care, medication, physical therapy, and any other medical care you may need.

However, you do need to prove to the workers' compensation insurance company that the treatment you need is indeed "reasonable and necessary." Our job as your treating doctor is not only to provide treatment but also to fill out the reports and forms and present the information the insurance company needs to approve your claim. If there is a dispute over treatment, we will advocate for your interests and put you in the best position we can to get the treatment you need.

Your doctor also plays a key role in your disability benefits

In addition to paying for your medical treatment, workers' compensation pays for partial replacement of your lost income if you are hurt and cannot work. Your workers' comp doctor can examine you and determine if you are able to return to work and, if so, whether you need any medical restrictions or accommodations at work. Again, we will fill out the necessary paperwork to help you get the benefits you need while you are recovering from your work injury.

If you have a permanent injury to certain parts of the body, such as the arms or legs, then you may also be eligible for schedule loss of use (SLU) benefits, which are calculated once you have reached maximum medical improvement (MMI) based on the percentage of disability. Again, as your workers' comp doctor, we can examine you, determine the extent of your disability, and advocate for you to receive the benefits you need.

See a workers' compensation doctor as soon as possible

When you're dealing with the New York workers' compensation system, experience is essential. So is moving quickly. The sooner you have your injuries diagnosed and begin treatment, the more smoothly your workers' compensation claim should go.

We've been treating injured workers for years, and our seven clinics in greater New York City and Long Island offer immediate appointments, including many same-day options. If you sustained an orthopedic injury at work and you need medical attention, you've come to the right place. Book an appointment with one of our workers' comp doctors today.

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