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When an injured worker doesn’t agree with their treatment plan

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

An employee injured on the job may require treatment and time away from work. A broken bone, for example, might require a leave of absence until someone regains full functionality of the affected body part. Depending on the severity of the fracture, the treatment required could range from simply setting the bone and resting to surgery and physical therapy.

Most patients receiving treatment during a workers’ compensation claim will simply defer to the doctor’s recommendations and instructions. They will do whatever is necessary to recover as quickly and fully as possible. Others might question the necessity of certain treatments. What does somebody receiving medical care through a workers’ compensation claim need to do if they disagree with the recommended course of treatment?

They may need a second opinion

It is quite common for patients who think that their doctor recommended an unnecessarily aggressive treatment regimen to simply ignore the aspects of the plan that they dislike. For example, someone might choose not to attend physical therapy sessions or may never call back the surgeon to schedule a procedure. They might even return to work before the doctor has affirmed that they are ready to do so.

Such choices put the worker in a perilous position, as they could reduce their eligibility for benefits in the future. It would be possible to assert that someone who does not go to physical therapy, get appropriate treatment or take their medication contributed to the slow improvement of their condition or their poor outcome. Therefore, they may find themselves at risk of losing workers’ compensation coverage both for healthcare and lost wages.

When a worker does not agree with what their doctor recommends, what they need is a second opinion. For the most part, workers in Virginia may have to absorb the cost of a second opinion. Workers’ compensation usually does not provide payment for an appointment with someone other than the doctor overseeing someone’s treatment during their claim.

For many workers, that second opinion could be a worthwhile investment even if their treatment plan does not include surgical procedures. Making the effort to protect one’s eligibility for benefits can be to someone’s long-term financial stability after a workplace injury. Ultimately, seeking legal guidance to learn more about how workers’ compensation claims work in Virginia may help those in need of such benefits, especially when the stakes of someone’s situation are high.