The Bottom Line on Second Opinions for Work Injuries
Sandra Gomez is concerned. She hurt her back while lifting heavy bins of material. The company doctor is insisting Sandra is well enough to return to work. Sandra feels she should get a second opinion. She asks the workers’ compensation adjuster to refer her to another doctor. Can you guess the response?
We provided you with Sandra’s story for a reason. Her request was denied. Since her medical bills are paid by her employer’s compensation insurance, the company gets to select doctors and other medical providers. They are under no obligation to pay for a second opinion. That’s not to say one isn’t necessarily warranted.
Common Reasons Second Opinions are Requested
If you’ve been hurt at work, your first medical treatment may be with an emergency facility. After that, the company or their insurance company may refer you to a local medical clinic. An example of a local provider used for treatment of work-related injuries is Concentra.
There are an assortment of reasons that you might feel you should have a second opinion. Sandra’s is just one example. Here are some others:
- The doctor has not done a thorough examination or ordered diagnostic tests
- The doctor says you have received maximum medical benefit and releases you from further treatment
- The nurse assigned by the workers’ compensation carrier encourages the doctor to place no restrictions on your return to work or otherwise interferes in your care
- Surgical intervention is suggested and you are concerned about the proposed procedure
Obviously these reasons are legitimate. They are particularly pertinent if you are still in pain and feel you are getting nowhere with the authorized treatment. So, what should you do?
This is where an experienced workers’ compensation attorney can be of tremendous assistance. They can discuss your misgivings concerning your medical treatment and demand a second opinion. This does not necessarily mean the adjuster will comply with the attorney’s request. However, there are other legal options.
If you are in need of further medical treatment, a motion may be brought before the workers’ compensation judge. It will be supplemented by a report from a medical expert retained by the law firm. It is not advisable to seek your own doctor’s opinion. Your health insurance will not pay for work-related injuries and you may have to foot the bill yourself.