As a federal worker who’s been injured on the job, it’s important to understand that one of your most important rights is the right to choose your own medical provider. Your employer can make suggestions about your medical provider and even provide you with emergency treatment at a medical provider of their choice, but ultimately, it is your right and decision to choose.

It is also the federal employers’ responsibility to make employees aware of this right. Failure on the part of the employer to make this right known to injured employees should prompt the employee to file a grievance with both the HR department of the employer and the OWCP (Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs).

It is also important to know that if you have been injured on the job and have seen the medical provider recommended by your employer for initial treatment, you are not obligated to continue seeing that medical provider for continued treatments. You can visit a doctor of your choosing even if your first visit was to a doctor of their choosing. However, if you visit the employer-recommended medical provider three times or more, the DOL will determine that the employer-recommended medical provider is now the medical provider chosen by the injured employee.

Take the time to familiarize yourself with your rights as an injured worker so that you get the treatment you need and don’t undermine your DOL claim.