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Can injured workers in California ask for a second opinion?

On Behalf of | May 21, 2024 | Workers Rights

Someone who is hurt on the job in California can (usually) file a claim for workers’ compensation benefits. Many workers qualify for medical benefits that pay for their treatment costs. If a job-acquired health challenge forces someone to take time away from their profession, they may also qualify for disability benefits.

The worker’s claim largely depends on the opinion of the medical professional who examines them and recommends a specific course of treatment. Typically, workers’ compensation pays for any treatment deemed necessary, ranging from surgery and medication to physical therapy.

In some cases, a worker may question whether certain medical procedures, like surgery, are truly necessary. Other times, they may disagree with a doctor’s opinion about the status of their recovery. Can someone receiving workers’ compensation benefits in California receive a second opinion as part of their claim?

Workers have the right to a second opinion

Some states do not provide second opinions as part of the workers’ compensation program. In other words, if someone disagrees with the determination that a doctor reaches, their only option is to pay for a second opinion with their own funds.

Thankfully, California offers better protection to injured workers and those with job-acquired medical conditions. Any worker potentially has the right to request a second opinion. In fact, workers’ compensation rules in California actually allow people to request a third opinion if the second opinion is equally questionable.

Someone worried about the early end of their benefits or unnecessarily aggressive treatment could explore their options by requesting a second opinion. If another medical professional has a different opinion about a worker’s treatment needs or condition, the differences in those opinions could help a worker who needs to appeal a decision or secure additional support.

The more serious someone’s injuries are, the more concerned they may be about what seems like an unfair decision to end their benefits or unnecessarily aggressive treatment. Getting a second opinion can be very helpful for those with significant work injuries that require workers’ compensation benefits.

Workers need to know what medical rights they have when receiving workers’ compensation benefits for their treatment. Learning about their rights may help workers obtain the benefits that can help them recover from work injuries as efficiently and effectively as possible.