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Can you pick your own workers' compensation doctor in Illinois?

The rules surrounding your benefits and entitlements following a workplace injury can vary drastically from state to state. In particular, workers in one state may enjoy more freedom to choose their own medical providers than those living elsewhere.

It's a mixed bag in Illinois. Here's what you need to know:

How much choice do you have over your doctor in the workers' comp system?

If your employer has established a Preferred Provider Program, or PPP, you can chose any two doctors off the list for treatment.

If your employer doesn't have a PPP, you are free to pick any two doctors for your treatment.

What other things should you know about your right to choose?

It's important to understand that you can always seek emergency room care after your injury, and the doctor you see is not counted as one of your two choices. On the other hand, if you decide to see "the company doctor" immediately following your injury, that provider may count as one of your two choices -- so don't let your employer push you that direction unless you're entirely comfortable with the services they provide.

In addition, if either of the two medical providers you choose send you to a specialist, any treatment they provide will also be covered by workers' comp.

What kinds of medical providers should you choose for treatment?

Generally speaking, it's wisest to pick a doctor who is either a primary care physician or a specialist in occupational medicine as one of your two choices. That way, you can easily be referred to specialists if they are needed.

Sometimes employers make it difficult for injured employees to obtain the medical care and benefits they need. If that happens, you may need to seek legal assistance.

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