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Getting a Second Doctor’s Opinion for Workers’ Compensation Medical Benefits

April 12, 2017

If you’ve been injured on the job, it’s your right to collect workers’ compensation benefits from your employer, including medical treatment costs based on a doctor’s assessment. But what if you’re unsatisfied with your physician’s diagnosis? At The Workers’ Compensation Law Firm, our attorneys have worked with many cases where our clients questioned getting a second opinion. Whether your doctor isn’t listening and you don’t trust him, or he’s claiming there’s nothing more he can do and you’re still in pain, here’s what you need to know about second opinions.

Generally, employers select a North Carolina Industrial Commission approved treating physician for medical compensation. If you’re unhappy with their opinion, or not seeing actual recovery results post treatment, you can request a second opinion and try to get approval from the Industrial Commission. Your appeal should be backed with reasonable cause, including medical records that support your request. A copy of your request should also be submitted to your employer and their insurance company. If the Industrial Commission denies your plea and you refuse to continue using your employer’s selected physician, there’s a risk of suspended compensation.

It’s important to know you are free to get a doctor’s second opinion about an injury on your own outside of the workers’ compensation system. Keep in mind though that your personal insurance company pays for that physician and not your employer’s.

An exception to the second opinion rule includes when a workplace injury results in total or partial loss of the use of a body part, or the inability to earn the same income in any employment as earned at the time of the workplace accident. When this happens, you’re entitled to an impairment rating from your employer’s treating physician to decide on an exact settlement amount. If you’re not satisfied with the rating, and the Industrial Commission agrees, you are entitled to a second opinion of another doctor of your choosing at your employer’s expense.

At The Workers’ Compensation, we understand that a full recovery without any obstacles from your employer or their insurance company is imperative. If you’re confident on receiving a second opinion, then we want to help get what you need. Whether that involves speaking to your treating physician for referral suggestions on a second opinion, or communicating with your employer and their insurance company, our goal is to get you the best treatment for your injury. If you or someone you know is having a similar problem, contact our workers’ compensation lawyers today for a free consultation.