The law requires you to treat with the company or panel doctor as they are called ONLY for the first 90 days following your work injury. BUT, this requirement is only effective if your employer does both of the following things. After your work injury (not only at the time of hire) they must give you a list of at least 6 company or panel doctors to choose from for medical treatment of your work injury. A posting in a central place where employees are likely to see the list is enough. AND, they must have you SIGN a 90 day notice advising you of your obligation to treat with the company doctor for the first 90 days following your work injury. It is not enough that the employer simply tells you about your 90 day obligation to treat with the company doctor. They must actually have you sign a notice telling you that you are required to treat with their doctor for the first 90 days. If your employer does not do BOTH of these things (they cannot just do one without the other) AFTER your work injury, then you NEVER have to treat with their doctor. You should be given a copy of the 90 day notice after you sign and date it.
Even if your employer gives you a list of company doctors to treat with and, has you sign the 90 day notice, you only have to treat with the company doctor for 90 days OR, until discharged, whichever comes first. So if you are discharged before the expiration of the 90 day period, you can immediately start treating with your own doctor.
You should speak with an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer if you have any questions regarding your medical treatment following a work injury. A lawyer can often times refer you to the right doctor to treat your specific injury.