Nobody wants to put their health and well-being into the hands of someone they don’t know, but that’s exactly the situation you may find yourself in if you’re an injured worker in Pennsylvania – for a while.

Since your medical provider actually has a great deal of influence over the trajectory of your workers’ compensation claim, it’s important to understand exactly what rights you have in the matter. Here’s what you need to know:

In an emergency, you can seek help anywhere

Some workplace injuries creep up on you, while others are clearly traumatic. If you’re bleeding, in excruciating pain or otherwise need emergency care, you have the right to seek it wherever you can. Workers’ compensation is expected to cover it.

For all other care, you need to look at your employer’s list

Once any emergency is over, injured workers in this state have to first determine if their employer has provided them with a panel list of preferred medical providers. If so, you have to choose someone from that list to be your treating physician for the first 90 days of your care.

This is true whenever:

  • Your employer has accepted your workers’ comp claim (since a rejection frees you to seek other care as you appeal the denial).
  • Your employer gave you written notice that they have a panel of medical providers for any workers’ comp claims.
  • You acknowledged your receipt of that information in writing (such as when you signed papers when you hired on).
  • Your employer posted their panel of chosen providers in a visible spot within the workplace and there are at least six different options.

It’s also worth noting that your employer is forbidden by law from steering you toward a specific physician on the list, and any attempt to do so should immediately make you suspicious. The odds are high that particular physician is more “employer-friendly” than “patient-focused.”

Worker’s compensation claims can be a lot more difficult to pursue than many people realize. If you don’t think you’re receiving the appropriate medical care or the benefits you deserve, the wisest move you can make is to get some experienced legal guidance.