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Can I get a second opinion under workers’ compensation?

On Behalf of | Jan 3, 2024 | Workers' Compensation |

You should have faith that a medical examination will tell you all you need to know about your work injury so you can receive the proper treatment. This is an early step to help you receive workers’ compensation coverage. However, you might question whether the initial exam was accurate.

Fortunately, under North Carolina law you have the right to seek out a second opinion if you feel you need one to understand your condition.

A request for a second opinion

Your first step is to submit a written request to your employer. From there, your employer might agree to your request, authorizing it and paying for you to undergo a second opinion exam. However, your employer could also deny your request. Additionally, you and your employer might not agree on what doctor should examine you.

In the event you cannot secure approval of your request or your doctor choice within 14 days, you can ask the North Carolina Industrial Commission to order the second opinion exam. If the N.C.I.C. agrees with you, your employer will pay for your new exam.

A request to select your preferred doctor

In the event you do not feel comfortable with the doctor chosen by your employer and feel you will get a more accurate opinion from your personal physician, you may notify the N.C.I.C. of your desire to pick your doctor. However, you must provide evidence that selecting your own doctor is reasonable to treat your injury, give you relief or lessen how long your disability will last.

In such a case, the N.C.I.C. may hear the opinion of the provider you had visited before submitting your request to change doctors. However, the commission is free to not give the initial opinion much weight or disregard it completely.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 74,300 non-deadly work injuries and illnesses took place in private businesses in North Carolina in 2022. This means many workers in the state can take part in the workers’ comp system. If you become one of them, understand your options so you can receive the best possible care.