Alabama Workers Compensation Questions: (11) I want a second opinion about whether I need surgery:
If you work in Alabama and have suffered a job injury, you are most likely entitled to benefits under Alabama’s Workers’ Comp law. Part of your rights under our Worker’ Compensation Law includes your right to medical treatment.
As we discussed in a previous blog, if you become dis-satisfied with the treatment you are receiving from the authorized treating physician, you have a right to request a new treating physician by requesting a Panel of Four. Typically, you only have one chance to request a Panel of Four; however, in the circumstance where surgery has been recommended, you have the right to request a surgical Panel of Four-even if you have already requested a panel. This is because whether to have surgery or not is a major decision, and it is reasonable to desire a second opinion when surgery has been recommended. With this in mind, in cases where surgery has been recommended, your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance carrier also has a right to request you to see another physician chosen by them so they can inquire if surgery is reasonable and necessary.
Whether to have surgery or not is your decision, not the doctor’s and not the workers comp insurance carriers. As long as your decision against having surgery is reasonable (eg. no reasonable assurance that you will benefit or it the surgery carries serious dangers for you). If the physician workers compensation sends you to for a second opinion states your condition does not warrant surgery, but your authorized treating physician states it is reasonable and necessary, workers’ compensation will most likely deny coverage, but the court traditionally sides with the opinion of the physician who has a history of treating you for your condition.
If surgery has been suggested and you have questions about your rights under the Alabama Workers Compensation Law, the experienced Alabama Workers Comp lawyers at Powell and Denny would be happy to talk to you about your case free of charge.
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