Suppose you are receiving medical treatment through workers’ compensation with the physician that was selected by your employer’s insurance carrier. Now suppose you have a disagreement with your doctor’s opinion regarding your treatment. Perhaps the doctor claims you do or don’t need a certain medical procedure that you disagree with, or perhaps the doctor has released you with no further options but you feel like you are still having problems and need more treatment. You might be wondering what options you have for additional or different medical treatment. Specifically, the issue becomes whether or not you are entitled to a second opinion from a different doctor about your treatment.
The short answer is that you are most likely entitled to a second opinion, but not just any second opinion. Your employer still has the right to control your treatment and still gets to select the second doctor they would send you to see. You are not allowed to just go out on your own and get treatment with whatever doctor you choose and expect your employer’s workers’ compensation carrier to pay for that treatment and any ongoing treatment you might need.
What If Your Employer Denies You A Second Opinion?
If you desire a second opinion about your treatment, the first course of action would be to discuss your concerns with the insurance adjuster handling your claim and ask for a second opinion. However, you should be careful when and why you are requesting a second opinion, as you only get one additional opinion. If the adjuster refuses your request, you will be forced to file a Form 50 with the South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Commission to request a hearing to have a Commissioner hear your claim and, ideally, order a second opinion in your favor. Filing and attending a hearing on this type of issue can be very complex and is usually best if you have an attorney to handle your claim.
Are You Entitled To A Third Opinion?
Now, suppose the insurance carrier agrees to send you for a second opinion and you still disagree with the second doctor’s opinion about your treatment. Unfortunately, at this point, unless dire circumstances are present, you would not likely be entitled to a third opinion about your treatment. However, you may still have options that an experienced workers’ compensation attorney could help you with. It might be possible for you to go see a third doctor on your own for an independent medical evaluation. This exam would not be paid for through your employer’s workers’ compensation carrier, but would be an expense taken out of the final settlement amount of your case. Also, this doctor will not become your full-time treating physician, but will only render an opinion about your treatment that can be used at a hearing to persuade a Commission to order additional medical treatment in your favor.
If you are having trouble receiving benefits you are entitled to through workers’ compensation, whether it is medical treatment you need or wage benefits you are entitled, our law firm can help get the compensation you are entitled to. Please feel free to contact our workers’ compensation lawyer in Charleston, SC to discuss any issues you might have about your claim. We are always happy to speak with you.