Guerline Edouard v. Pioneer Growers and Zenith Insurance Company; OJCC# 19-002680; Aug. 5, 2019

Once the carrier authorizes medical treatment, they are not obligated to accept claimant’s self-help physicians.

This case involved a work accident that was not initially reported to the carrier by the employer. Therefore, the claimant sought medical treatment on her own under the Self-Help Provision. After the carrier was aware of the injury, it authorized care. However, the claimant refused to treat and petitioned to continue care with her own doctors. The claimant argued that she had established a patient-physician relationship with her chiropractor and did not want to treat with the authorized orthopedic physician. The carrier’s adjuster then agreed to authorize a chiropractor in addition to the orthopedic physician. The claimant still refused and continued treating on her own and undergoing MRIs without prior authorization. The judge of compensation claims held that the period of self-help ended when the carrier authorized care. The judge stated, “By their appropriately stepping up to the workers’ compensation plate and authorizing treatment, pursuant to Carmack v. State of Florida, 31 So.3d 798 (Fla. 1st DCA 2009), the employer/carrier retains the right to control the selection of the future treating physicians. They are not obligated to accept the claimant’s selection of the self-help doctors for future care.”


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