Can I Go to My Own Doctor?

When you’ve suffered an injury at work or developed an illness because of your job, you need to see a doctor. Under workers’ compensation laws in Washington State, a doctor has to certify that your condition is work-related before you can receive benefits.

And these are benefits you need for a strong recovery — both physically and financially.

You might be worried about finding an approved doctor in the workers’ comp system run by the State Department of Labor & Industries (L&I).

But you are entitled to choose your own doctor.

The attorneys at Bothwell & Hamill know the workers’ comp system and the doctors in Yakima, Kennewick, Sunnyside, Spokane, Richland, Ellensburg, Wenatchee, Walla Walla and all across Central Washington.

We can make sure you get quality treatment — covered by workers’ comp.

Let us go to work to get you benefits.

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Your Initial and
Continuing Care

The health care you receive after getting hurt on the job has two major phases:

  1. When your injury first occurs, don’t spend time worrying about finding doctors. Go straight to the emergency room if needed. Visit your regular doctor if that’s the best option. Whoever it is, the doctor you see for your initial visit will help file your workers’ comp claim.
  2. If you need medical care beyond that first visit, that’s when you must use a provider in the L&I network. Many doctors are included, so you might be able to keep going to the same doctor.

L&I provides an online directory of approved providers that you can search. L&I even encourages you to ask your regular doctor to join the network if they haven’t yet.

At Bothwell & Hamill, we don’t charge anything for you to talk to us about your case so we can figure out what’s best for you.

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Sometimes, your workers’ comp carrier will ask for an “independent” examination by doctors they choose. Under state law, they must provide locations reasonably close to your home.

The attorneys at Bothwell & Hamill make sure that the workers’ comp system treats you with dignity and respect.

How to Work With
Approved Doctors

L&I wants you to use what it calls an “attending provider” for your ongoing treatment.

Attending providers coordinate your care. They report progress to L&I. Your attending provider could be a specialist, dentist, advanced registered nurse practitioner or physicians’ assistant.

If you want to change providers, you can request a transfer from L&I.

You also can seek treatment from more than one doctor. This has to be approved by L&I, or a self-insured employer if you’re among the one-third of Washington residents whose employers self-insure.

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More Questions?

You might have a lot of questions. Bothwell & Hamill has answers.

Common Questions »

Mr. Hamill has gone to bat for me, and I don't know what I would have done without him and his staff. They are such professionals and truly care about you as a person.”

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