Working in the oil and gas industry can be a dangerous business, even when your employer follows all the applicable state and federal safety guidelines. Accidents happen at Texas refineries with enough frequency that it pays to understand what your plan will be if you are injured on the job and need ongoing medical treatment.
Your company may insist you see a “company doctor” for your injuries. Your options for how you handle that order depends on your employer’s relationship to Texas’ workers’ compensation system.
Medical treatment in Texas workers’ compensation cases
The Texas Department of Insurance publishes lists of certified workers’ compensation health care networks each year. These networks of physicians and other health professionals function like a managed care network. Once you’ve received emergency care for your injury, you choose a treating physician from the network list. If you do not select a treating physician, the network will assign one to you.
There are some exceptions to this process. Workers who don’t live near network providers may be able to have their local doctor oversee their care. If your regular doctor is part of a health maintenance organization (HMO), you can ask if your physician can be your treating physician for the refinery injury. And you do have the option to change doctors within the specified network once without network approval.
What if my employer isn’t part of the workers’ compensation system?
Texas is unique in that it allows employers to opt out of its workers’ compensation insurance system. Employers may choose to purchase other types of injury protection benefits for their workers, or they can simply choose not to offer any such benefit at all. If the company does not provide workers’ compensation coverage, it cannot tell you which doctor you must use for medical treatment after a refinery injury.
Some employers who are non-subscribers to workers’ compensation may still try to pressure employers to use a company-recommended doctor. You are not obligated to follow this directive.
After an injury at a refinery, your focus should be on recovering your health. A personal injury attorney with experience handling oil and gas industry injury cases can help you understand your and discover the best path to receiving the medical care you may need.