This page discusses everything you need to know about workers comp doctors and your rights regarding choosing your own.
Workers comp doctors
If you have had an accident at work which requires some form of medical treatment, the doctor who issues that treatment is what’s known as a ‘treating’ doctor or ‘workers comp’ doctor. Your treating doctor will play a tremendously important part throughout your statutory, or common law claim. For that reason, it is important that your treating doctor has your best interests at heart.
What does a workers comp doctor do?
Besides the obvious things like treating your immediate injury, your doctor will act as a key decision-maker throughout your case. Just some of the important decisions they will be required to make as per the worker’s comp protocol are:
- Work with other specialist doctors if need be to provide you with treatment outside the scope of a general practitioner, or
- arrange for rehabilitation support, counselling and care with physiotherapists, psychologists and councillors, or
- confirm how much time you will need off work following your injury, or illness, or
- identify or highlight any issues which may affect you further down the line and inhibit your future earning capacity, or
- assist with the drafting of a return to work plan/schedule by identifying any temporary or permanent work restrictions, and
- finally declare you fit or unfit to return to the same line of work
Do I have to see the company doctor?
Employers may recommend a medical practitioner to you and that’s about it. However, all too often we speak with employees who are being coerced or mislead into seeing the companies own doctor.
If you have become injured or ill through work and are in need of medical treatment it is your absolute right to choose your own doctor. In fact, being forced to see the ‘company doctor’ is a fundamental breach of your human rights.
Why choose your own doctor for workers comp?
Well apart from the obvious things such as bias,
You may also have some sensitive medical issues which you don’t want your employer to know about. One gentleman we spoke to refused to sign a medical consent form after being pressured into giving someone he had never met before his life long medical history. He said; ‘my life has been quite troubled due to my medical conditions and there was no way I was going to share that stuff with some doctor I don’t know, especially when my supervisor is sat there listening.’ If your employer tries to pressure you in this way call us on 1800 106 107 or contact the FairWork Ombudsman.
Generally, you only need to disclose medical records which relate to your claim. The best way to avoid getting into a situation which you might not feel comfortable boing in is to insist on seeing your regular doctor.
Want to know whether or not your boss has the right to ‘sit-in’ on your worker’s comp doctor’s visits?
Do you need some further assistance?
Due to the contrast in legislation throughout Australia, if you had an accident at work in any of the states below, please follow the relevant link to view location-specific information or start the claims process online.
- View New South Wales information or claim online here,
- visit our dedicated Victoria page or start online,
- click here for Queensland specific info or lodge online now,
- select Western Australia or make a claim here.