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Workers' Comp and Second Opinions

When it may be wise to seek a second medical opinion after a work injury

Unless you have considerable medical training yourself, you probably tend to rely on your doctor's orders and take them at face value. Physicians undergo substantial schooling and testing to practice medicine. Therefore, you are often safe to assume your doctor knows what he or she is talking about when it comes to diagnosing your condition or recommending courses of action for associated treatment.

Physicians are not immune from error, however, and there are some situations in which you may find it beneficial to secure a second medical opinion. You may want to do so if:

You question whether your concerns are being taken seriously

Many of today's doctors face tight timelines, meaning they often only have about 20 minutes or so to devote to you on a given visit. If you feel you were not able to clearly articulate your symptoms or concerns during that time, or if you feel your physician was not giving your symptoms the attention you believe they deserve, you may find it beneficial to speak with a second medical professional.

You disagree or feel discomfort about a recommendation, especially about whether you can return to work

Medical misdiagnosis is an unfortunate but very real occurrence in America, with Fox News reporting that it affects about 12 million citizens annually. You may be hesitant to outwardly question your doctor's diagnosis or her or his recommended course of treatment, but that does not necessarily mean you agree with it or are prepared to go along with it. You are the only one who has to live with your symptoms, so you have a right to question your physician's recommendation or diagnosis if it just does not feel right. Additionally, you know more than your doctor about the physical tasks and strain that your job will put on you when you return to work. If you are concerned that your physician is not taking your input into account, be sure to speak up.

Your doctor recommends non-emergency surgery

By nature, surgery is invasive, and surgical procedures can often mean long hospital stays and extensive follow-up treatments. Surgery is also inherently risky and, in many cases, quite expensive, so it may put you at ease to get a second opinion anytime you are encouraged to undergo a non-emergency surgical procedure following a work injury.

For more about when to secure a second medical opinion related to your post-work injury treatment, consider contacting an attorney.

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