Workers who get hurt on the job or who develop a work-related medical condition have to carefully follow the rules if they want to obtain and retain workers’ compensation insurance benefits. Not only do you need to see a specific doctor, but you are also required to comply with their treatment plan in most cases.
You may have heard the claim that employees receiving workers’ compensation benefits need to follow medical recommendations. Generally, that is an accurate statement. Insurance providers and employers could defend against future disability or medical benefits claims using a worker’s medical non-compliance.
A worker who doesn’t follow the recommendations or treatment plans of the doctor overseeing their care is a worker who delays their own recovery and potentially worsens their own prognosis. Although you do need to comply with a doctor’s instructions, that doesn’t mean you are at the mercy of a stranger’s whim. Those receiving workers’ compensation benefits in California have rights when they question the recommended treatments, especially if it is an invasive procedure like surgery.
You have the right to a second and even a third opinion
While it is typically in your best interests to comply with a doctor’s recommendations, you might want to pursue an alternative form of treatment, such as physical therapy instead of surgery. Especially when there are alternative treatment options that could be just as successful as the recommendation that you question, you have the right to ask for a second opinion.
Workers’ compensation will typically cooperate with employees who want a second opinion. You could even receive a third opinion if the first to agree but you believe that alternative treatments would be in your best interest.
Adherence to proper procedure will protect your claim rights
Mistakes in how you handle challenges to a doctor’s recommended treatment plan could affect your right to disability benefits and even future medical coverage. You need to educate yourself about how benefits work and what coverage you can receive. In fact, you will likely need professional support, especially if you have a complex claim and a significant injury.
Learning more about workers’ compensation benefits in California will help those coping with a work-related medical issue.