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Workplace injuries: Should I get a second opinion?

| Jul 25, 2018 | Workers' Compensation

Getting medical treatment is one of the most important things you can do after a workplace injury. However, many employers require that you see their hand-picked physician to determine the extent of your injuries, and you may worry that this person won’t be impartial. This is a valid concern. Even though workers’ compensation claims don’t imply fault on the part of the employer, the insurers who pay out workers’ comp claims are always trying to save money. If you feel that this has negatively impacted your medical evaluation, you have a few options.

 

Seeking A Second Opinion On Your Own

One thing that’s important to understand is that refusing to see your employer’s designated doctor after a workplace injury could have negative consequences. While your employer can’t force you to see their doctor, they’re within their rights to fire you for this refusal if you are an “at will” employee. Instead of jeopardizing your future employment, you can always decide to see a second physician on your own. This person could be your regular doctor, who would be more familiar with your medical history and better able to assess any changes that have occurred because of your injury. If you don’t have a physician of choice, our Firm can assist you in finding a physician for your needed treatment. Any discrepancies between your doctor’s findings and the first doctor — especially relating to your ability to return to work — will be significant down the road.

Independent Medical Evaluations

In some cases, your employer’s insurance company may require you to get what’s known as an “independent medical evaluation” (IME). This can happen when the insurance company isn’t satisfied with the first doctor’s findings and wants more information on your condition. Be careful how you tread here. The key difference from the scenario above is that Maryland Workers’ Compensation law requires that you attend an IME if the insurance company schedules one otherwise the Commission may refuse to allow medical or disability benefits you seek..

However, you dont have to use the physician they recommend for the treatment of your injuries. Find one you’re comfortable with, and go to that doctor instead. Remember, the insurance company doesn’t want to pay for expensive treatments, even though you may need them. You want to ensure that your independent medical examination is truly independent.

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