If you’ve been injured on the job and are unsatisfied with the treatment or opinion of the doctor your employer has designated, you are entitled to a second opinion — but not without jumping through a few hoops.
Changing Treatment Providers
Let’s first go over what you need to do if you want to change your treatment provider. You need agreement from your employer or their insurance carrier or the permission of the North Carolina Industrial Commission. According to N.C. Gen. Stat. 97-25, “In order for the Commission to grant the employee’s request to change treatment or health care provider, the employee must show by a preponderance of the evidence that the change is reasonably necessary to effect a cure, provide relief, or lessen the period of disability.”
So, you will need to provide evidence, such as medical records, to support your request. If the Industrial Commission grants your request, your employer must continue to pay for your treatment under the new medical provider. If your request is denied, you are still free to get a second opinion, but it will be at your own expense.
Getting a Second Opinion on Your Disability Rating
The other situation you might encounter is dissatisfaction with the disability rating the employer-designated doctor gives you at the independent medical examination (IME). If “the employee is dissatisfied with the percentage of permanent disability…determined by the authorized health care provider, the employee is entitled to have another examination solely on the percentage of permanent disability provided by a duly qualified physician of the employee’s choosing…. That physician shall be paid by the employer in the same manner as health care providers designated by the employer or the Industrial Commission are paid.” In this situation, however, you have to pay your own travel expenses to and from the provider’s office.
Reach Out to a North Carolina Workers’ Comp Lawyer
If you’ve been injured at work and would like a second opinion, the easiest thing to do is to speak with an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer who can guide you through the process. The workers’ compensation attorneys at Kreger Brodish LLP have years of experience helping people who are injured on the job obtain the medical care and compensation they deserve. If you’ve been injured at work, call us today to schedule your free consultation.