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In Nunez v. Pulte Homes, Inc, (1D07-4340) the First District Court of Appeal recently reversed a Judge of Compensation Claims (JCC) who found that a Claimant was not entitled to a change of physician. In Florida, "upon the written request of the employee, the carrier shall give the employee the opportunity for one change of physician during the course of treatment for any one accident." (F.S. 440.13(2)(f)(2007)). However, the Claimant must have begun treatment and cannot request a change of doctor before he has even seen the doctor. In the Nunez case, the Claimant had seen the Carrier's doctor two times and the doctor did have an MRI performed before determining that surgery was not necessary. The First DCA ruled that this was sufficient to constitute treatment and the claimant was entitled to a change of physician as a matter of law.
Although the Employers and Insurance Companies have a great deal of control over the medical treatment delivered in the Florida workers' compensation system, the right to change doctors can be a valuable tool for getting the proper treatment in the workers' comp case. If you've been injured and question the medical care that the Carrier-provided physician is giving you, please call my office for a consultation or visit our website at www.tampaworkerscomp.com.