Going to the doctor is hardly a favorite activity for most. At some hospitals or urgent care facilities, you may have to wait hours to be seen. Once you do meet with a doctor, may recommend treatment options you feel uncomfortable with, such as injections or even surgery.
These treatments take time, which is a valuable commodity when recovering from a workplace injury. You may feel treatment time could be better spent on other activities, such as attending physical therapy or pursuing your workers’ comp benefit. You may even wonder whether the treatment the doctor recommends will be effective. If the potential outcomes seem extensive or intrusive, you may feel you don’t want to pursue a recommended treatment.
One of the most frequent questions we hear from workers is, “What happens if I refuse surgery on a workman’s comp claim?” We tell them: you are not powerless in this case.
Can I Refuse Medical Treatment For My Workers’ Compensation Injury?
The best course of action when you do not want to receive a doctor-recommended treatment for your workers’ compensation injury is to tell them you want to think about it first. Don’t immediately agree to anything you feel uncertain about while you are at the appointment.
Within the first 90 days after an injury, you must seek treatment with the panel providers approved by your employer’s insurance company. You are only required to treat with the employer’s panel physicians where your employer provided you with proper written notice of the list of panel physicians when hired and after your injury. Even if you treat with a panel physician, after 90 days, you can seek a second opinion outside of the panel fro non-surgical treatment. If surgery is recommended by a panel physician, you may seek a second opinion from a physician of your choosing before agreeing to proceed with surgery.
Can I Refuse Surgery Under Workers’ Compensation?
You cannot refuse reasonable treatment for an injury received on the job without facing the risk that the insurance company could try to use your refusal as a basis to request that a Judge stop your checks. You should consider the recommended noninvasive treatment options such as medication or physical therapy. If you feel a treatment is unreasonable, such as surgery, the workers’ comp carrier can appeal to the judge in your workers’ comp case and present evidence why you should not have to undergo surgery.
Failing to appear at a doctor’s appointment to avoid surgery is not recommended. Your employer could seek to terminate your benefits if this happens.
Can An Employer Force An Employee To Seek Medical Attention?
An employer can seek to terminate your workers’ compensation benefits if you outright refuse the doctor’s treatment plan. This is why we recommend saying you will consider the treatment.
If you immediately reject treatment, your employer and their insurance company can use this refusal to claim you are not trying to get better and attempt to terminate your benefits. If you accept the recommendation but do not act immediately on it, your employer has a tougher case to prove.
Your best course of action is to consult with a workers’ compensation lawyer who can advise you of your rights. The team at Frommer D’Amico has the experience you need to walk you through this situation. We only take workers’ comp cases, and we only represent the worker, not the employer.
We offer low fees, and we can visit your home for meetings. Contact us today to discuss your workman’s comp case by calling 717-400-1000 or getting in touch online to set up a free consultation.