Predesignation helps you see your doctor after a work injury

No one wants to imagine a future in which they suffer a severe injury in their workplace that requires medical attention and a workers' compensation claim, but people in California at a wide range of jobs get hurt at work every day.

The smartest approach to workplace injury is to be proactive about your own safety. Your employer will likely have safety rules and equipment in place, ranging from protective gear to ergonomic chairs. Understanding common risk factors for your profession and trying to always adhere to safety best practices can reduce your risk of getting severely hurt at work.

In addition to taking steps to reduce your risk of an injury on the job, you should also be proactive about establishing protections if you do get hurt. One of the most important steps that you can take to protect yourself if you get hurt at work is to choose who you want to provide your care through the use of special predesignation forms. If you don't execute the predesignation form before you get hurt, you may be at the mercy of your employer for your medical care.

Employers want to choose the doctor to limit their expenses

California's workers' compensation program is different than other states in that employers often pay directly for medical care and have more control over where staff members seek the care they need after an injury on the job. Many larger employers create their own medical provider network (MPN).

Having their own MPN is a way to control exactly what kind of treatments a worker can receive for an injury and what costs a medical professional will pass on to the business. In a scenario where your employer expects you to seek your care from an MPN, you will have less control over what treatment options you can select.

In some cases, the care provider is so skewed toward the benefit of the employer that they may not make adequate safety recommendations for workers or provide them with the best standard of treatment. Choosing your own medical provider can help you avoid pitfalls in the quality of care you might receive.

Predesignation is not universally enforceable

In the event that your employer wants a say in the care that you receive after a workers' compensation claim, a predesignation form is the only way to select your own physician. However, just because you fill out one of these forms doesn't mean that your employer will innately respect or follow it.

There are circumstances in which your employer can still compel you to see a physician of their choosing. Arguing for your right to choose a medical care provider or for your employer to respect your predesignation form during a claim and the treatment that you need after a workplace injury may require extra help.

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