When you are injured at work, the initial doctor that you see must be approved by the employer themselves or their workers compensation insurance agency. They will typically tell you to go to a physician who is under their workers’ compensation plan and who they use on a regular basis. You can, in fact, get a second opinion if you feel like it is necessary. If you feel like a second opinion is necessary we typically encourage you to contact a workers’ compensation attorney.
If you are located in North Carolina, you can get a second opinion from a licensed physician by requesting it from the insurance company and, if denied, by going to the North Carolina Industrial Commission. If the physician is located outside of the state of North Carolina, you must get approval from the Industrial Commission before the examination takes place. A downside to using a physician in a different state is that the employee is required to pay any travel expenses that are incurred to get to that doctor unless there is a reasonable explanation for why that doctor must be visited.
When you go to another doctor for a second opinion, the original physician or their representative has the right to be present. Also, everything that is found in this new exam must be disclosed. None of the information in this visit it privileged and must be shared with the employer, the original treating physician and the insurance agency.
There is a chance that you can begin to use the doctor who gave the second doctor as your primary doctor from the remainder of the treatment. To do this, you must have approval from the Industrial Commission. If you do get the approval, the employer must pay all expenses related to this doctor, including any travel expenses that it costs to get you to the office.