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All workers have the right to expect to go home safe and well at the end of the day. Unfortunately, workplace injuries happen, and we see firsthand the devastating physical and psychological impact these injuries can have on workers and their families.

If you are injured at work, there’s one simple yet important step you can take to make sure you get the best treatment and the best chance of claiming any compensation you are entitled to – see your own doctor.

Why should you see your own doctor after a work injury?

Employers will often direct an injured employee to see a “company doctor”. However, you should always see your own doctor because:

  1. they know you and your medical history, so they can better diagnose you and recommend the most appropriate treatment for any injuries
  2. they can provide you with ongoing care for the injury, taking into consideration any existing health conditions or illnesses
  3. you are more likely to feel comfortable speaking to your own doctor rather than a doctor nominated by your employer
  4. your own doctor will be better placed to support your rehabilitation and return to work arrangements and to respond to any requests made by workers’ compensation insurers.

James Goddard, senior associate and leader of our Mount Isa visiting office, says that all too often we see employers take advantage of workers not knowing their rights.

“The first hours and days following an incident at work can be very stressful, and we often see employers direct injured employees to see a company doctor under the guise that it’s somehow easier or more convenient,” says James.

“This tends to be more common in regional areas, where employers take advantage of their remote locations and workers don’t have as many options for medical care.”

James highlights the need for workers to understand their rights so that if they are injured at work, they can get the best medical advice and treatment as soon as possible.

What are your rights if you're injured at work?

If you are injured at work, remember:

  • You have the right to see your own doctor.
    Some large employers have a company doctor on-site, but just because it might be convenient for your employer or seem convenient to you, it doesn’t mean it will be in the long run. You can and should see your own doctor.

  • You have the right to privacy.
    You should never let a company representative sit in on your medical appointment with you, no matter how well-meaning it might seem. This is not part of standard workplace injury procedure and can be a tactic to have the circumstances or severity of the injury changed to benefit the employer. Medical appointments are private – you can, and should, refuse to let anyone in with you.

If you have seen a company doctor after an injury at work, it’s never too late to change to your own doctor.

What else should you do after an injury at work?

You should also keep a written record of all injuries, dates and appointments. These records are important when seeking compensation for medical treatment costs and loss of income due to time off work.

In the end, says James, choosing a doctor comes down to what is in your best interests, not what suits your employer.

“You should choose to see a doctor you are comfortable with – you need to feel confident that you have a doctor who will support you and provide you with the best treatment to get you back on your feet faster,” says James.

If you have been injured at work and are unsure what to do next, speak to your union representative or seek legal advice as soon as possible, as strict time limits apply for workers’ compensation claims.

Related articleFive steps to take if you're injured in a work accident

Dedicated workers' compensation claim lawyers

Our specialist work injury lawyers are here to help. If you've suffered an injury at work that has affected your physical or psychological wellbeing, we can help you get back on track so you can focus on getting better. Find out how we can assist you with your work injury claim.

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