When does an injured worker have the right to a second opinion?

On Behalf of | Jun 1, 2023 | Workers' Compensation

There are multiple workers’ compensation laws in Pennsylvania that protect employed individuals. Every company generally needs to carry workers’ compensation coverage, and any worker injured on the job or diagnosed with a job-acquired medical condition can possibly qualify for workers’ compensation benefits. Those making a claim for workers’ compensation coverage can receive both medical benefits and also disability benefits.

Health coverage available through workers’ compensation in Pennsylvania is very useful, as it does not pass treatment costs to the patient the way that traditional health insurance does. However, the worker typically has to follow the recommendations of the physician overseeing their treatment. Does an injured Pennsylvania worker have the right to a second opinion about their treatment during a workers’ compensation claim?

The program may not cover the cost of a second opinion

Typically, once a physician begins treating someone as part of a workers’ compensation claim, the patient is responsible for following all medical recommendations. Failing to adhere to a treatment plan is one of the top reasons that workers lose benefits despite having a condition that clearly connects to their employment.

When a patient disagrees with what their doctor recommends, they are in a very precarious position. Technically, a worker has the right to a second opinion at any point in the process, provided that they will pay for the physician that they see to review their condition and the treatment plan suggested. Thankfully, there is an exception to this rule.

Workers’ compensation will cover the cost of a second opinion when the recommended treatment protocol includes a surgical procedure. The risk and expense of a surgical operation make it worthwhile for the state to absorb the costs associated with getting a second opinion. Workers who can complete physical therapy or under the alternative treatments may be able to use that second opinion as a way to avoid an unnecessary or risky surgical procedure as part of their treatment during a worker’s compensation claim.

Getting the best treatment often requires knowing one’s rights

Whether a worker disagrees with the suggested treatment plan or they believe that they aren’t ready to return to work when the doctor says that their symptoms are under control, they need to know their rights if they want to assert themselves. Consulting with a workers’ compensation attorney can help injured and sickened workers in Pennsylvania make use of their rights and get the support necessary to recover and get back to their job as soon as possible.