When you receive medical care for a severe injury or illness, you may sometimes want to get another doctor’s opinion. This is especially true if surgery or other high-risk treatments are being recommended. That said, does Michigan allow you to seek a second opinion for a workers’ comp injury? If so, will the cost of that appointment be covered by your benefits? What if the doctor you choose has a different diagnosis or care plan than your initial treating physician? Will they still pay for your medical treatment if you follow the second doctor’s recommended care plan?
At Jay Trucks, we handle a variety of workers’ comp claims every day, so we have extensive experience. If you suffered an injury on the job and have legal questions about your claim, we are here to help.
Contact our law offices anytime, 24/7, to schedule a free consultation with one of our qualified attorneys. This does not make you obligated to hire our services. However, it is an excellent opportunity to get answers to your questions and find out if you have a valid claim.
Proven Results. No Upfront Costs. 989-244-0356
Does Michigan Allow Injured Workers to Change Physicians?
Yes, injured workers in Michigan are allowed to change physicians after a set waiting period, even if you are not seeking a second opinion. Sometimes an injured worker simply is not confident in the care provided by the doctor chosen by his or her employer. However, according to your rights and responsibilities under the state’s workers’ comp law, the injured employee must initially see a doctor chosen by his or her employer. After the initial waiting period of 28 days, workers can then switch to a physician that they choose.
How Do I Change Physicians After a Work Injury?
When seeking a Michigan workers’ comp claim, it is important to familiarize yourself with both the benefits and your responsibilities. For example, if you want to change physicians after a job-related injury, you must:
- Notify your employer or workers’ comp insurance carrier of your intent to change physicians
- Provide your employer with the name of your selected doctor
- Be aware that an employer has the right to dispute any physician you choose
All reasonable and necessary medical costs should be covered if you follow proper procedures for changing doctors. This means that you should not be billed for the care or co-pay for a work-related injury or illness. If you are billed anyway, it is important that you contact your insurance carrier and/or employer immediately. If your employer or insurance carrier refuses to pay for your medical care, we strongly recommend that you contact a qualified attorney.
At Jay Trucks, our highly qualified attorneys have been advocating for injured workers for decades. We have extensive experience handling workers’ comp claims, as well as a history of proven results. We are prepared to help you seek the full benefits that you need to aid in your recovery.
What if I Want to Get a Second Opinion for My Workers’ Comp Injury?
There are various reasons why you may want to seek a second opinion for a work injury, such as if:
- You have lost confidence in the treating doctor: For example, if an injured worker feels the doctor is not communicating well or the recommended treatment is not helping.
- Surgery is recommended: There are risks to any surgery. It is understandable for injured workers to want to seek another opinion to be sure it is necessary to aid their recovery.
- You feel your doctor has cleared you for work too soon: Returning to work before you have fully recovered could worsen your existing condition.
Who Pays If You Seek a Second Opinion for Your Workers’ Comp Injury?
The fact is, you always have the option of getting a second opinion. Being confident in the care you receive – and being sure you are getting the best treatment to help you reach your maximum medical improvement point is important. That said, if you do get a second opinion, there are a couple of risks you should be aware of, including:
- Your workers’ comp insurer may not agree to you getting a second opinion
- The treating physician may disagree with the second doctor’s recommended treatment
- The second doctor’s opinion may provide a recommendation that is not what you want to hear
- If your workers’ comp carrier does not agree to the second opinion or recommended treatment, it could extend litigation for your claim
From the viewpoint of your workers’ comp insurance carrier, getting you back to work sooner will save them money. Extended treatment will not. However, in some situations, what the second opinion doctor recommends could save them money. For instance, say your treating physician recommends surgery, but the second opinion doctor feels it is unnecessary. In this scenario, you may not have a problem. Since surgery is more expensive, the treatment recommended by the second doctor may be approved.
What if My Treating Doctor May Asks For a Second Opinion?
Sometimes a treating physician may be the one to ask for a second opinion. When this happens, it is typically because the doctor may be struggling to figure out a diagnosis. It could be that a specialist may be more qualified, to diagnose your condition. However, it may also be that the physician simply wants confirmation that his or her diagnosis is correct.
If your treating doctor does recommend you get a second opinion, he or she may refer you to a specific physician. In this situation, there should be no question that your workers’ comp insurance will pick up the tab. Sometimes this may not happen. You may simply be told to go to a specific specialty for a second opinion. In this situation, the workers’ comp insurance carrier may try to convince you to go to one of their doctors. However, this is not a good idea as they may send you to a doctor that normally handles their independent medical exams.
This could be an excellent time to seek legal advice. An attorney experienced in Michigan workers’ compensation claims can ensure your rights are protected while you seek the care that you need. Additionally, he or she is likely to have a list of doctors that can provide a second opinion.
Need Help With Your Workers’ Comp Claim? Call Our Firm Today
Workers’ comp claims are not always straightforward, especially when the injury or medical condition is more severe. In more complicated claims, injured workers may greatly benefit from the legal protection of an experienced attorney.
At Jay Trucks, our knowledgeable workers’ comp attorneys in Grand Rapids have been helping injured workers seek benefits for decades. We are ready to help you fight for the optimum care and benefits you need after suffering a work-related injury. We have recovered millions in compensation for injured workers throughout Michigan. Call our law offices anytime, night or day, to schedule your free case review. If we represent you, there is nothing to pay upfront. In fact, we only get paid if we help you to obtain the benefits you need.
Experienced lawyers on your side. 989-244-0356