Must Injured Airline Pilots Treat with the Company Doctor?
In order to control the cost of medical care, airline workers’ compensation insurance companies will try to force injured pilots and other flight crew members to see the carrier’s hand-picked doctors.
That way, the workers’ compensation insurance company for the airline can try to influence the duration of treatment, extent of testing, and other modalities that may be of benefit to the disabled worker.
Under Virginia law, if an airline employee is injured on the job, and no valid panel of physicians is offered, she is free to seek medical care with her own treating physician. This is important because the Virginia Workers’ Compensation law does not allow for “medical management. “
In other words, under Virginia law, it is for the patient and his or her treating doctor to say when, where, and what kind of treatment plan will be followed. The employer and its insurance company are not allowed to have any say in these decisions or referrals.
On the other hand, if the airline’s workers’ compensation insurance company offers a panel right away, and it is comprised of three or more valid physicians in the appropriate specialty and geographic areas, then the injured airline worker is required to pick one of these physicians as his or her “attending physician.”
Then the insurance company becomes liable for the cost of such care that is reasonable, causally related, and by written referral.
But there are “strings attached.”
Where the employer and the workers’ compensation insurance company have selected the doctor, it is less likely that the injured worker will be allowed to switch physicians, get a second opinion, or have as much say in the course of his or her own care.
That is why if someone you care for has been injured while working as an airline pilot, flight attendant, or other crew member, it is vital that you get experienced legal assistance immediately if not sooner. Contact us at once by email or phone (703-796-9555).