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Does workers’ comp allow me to ask for a second medical opinion?

Under the California Code of Regulations, you may obtain a second or third opinion for your workplace injuries. As noted on the State of California Department of Industrial Relations website, you could also request an opinion concerning different approaches to treating the issue that resulted from your employment.

When an on-the-job injury occurs, employees may visit the nearest hospital for emergency care. According to DIR.CA.gov, employers could select primary treating physicians that injured employees must see for 30 days. Employers must post information so that employees know where they could seek immediate medical treatment or which PTPs could treat them after an accident.

When may I see a second or third doctor after an on-the-job accident?

California’s workers’ comp rules require you to report an accident to your supervisor or a manager as soon as possible. If you dispute a PTP’s initial diagnosis, you may see another doctor or specialist in your employer’s medical provider network.

Employees need to inform their employers or workers’ comp insurance carrier of their decisions to obtain alternative opinions. You must schedule an appointment with another workers’ comp network provider within 60 days and send copies of your medical records. By including the diagnosis and treatment given to you by the PTP, the second or third doctor could better understand your condition.

What may I do if I disagree with a second or third opinion?

If, after visiting a second or third provider, you disagree with their diagnoses or treatments, you may ask for an opinion from a qualified medical examiner. The Division of Workers’ Compensation will send a list of QMEs and require you to choose one within 10 days of receipt.

A QME could offer another medical evaluation and review your records from previous providers. He or she may also determine if you have a disability or better treatment options.

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