October 23, 2019

Company Doctor Will Not Help Me – Is There Anything I Can Do?

My question is that, I’ve been out hurt for a year and 3 months with a crushed heel. I’ve seen 2 workers comp doctors and just saw a independent doctor. The independent doctor said that he could heal me,and do surgery but the workers comp doctor disputes his opinion. Now the insurance company says that their not going to let me see him nor pay for the surgery. If the workers comp doctor would have x-rayed my foot he would’ve saw that its still broke but he hasn’t x-rayed it in 6months or hasn’t seen me in 3 months and refuses to give me anything for pain. Isn’t that refusing me treatment? Please give me some advise???
-John

Jodi Ginsberg responds: John, thanks for your question. I am going to assume that you are not yet represented. If you are, you should speak with your lawyer to discuss the reasons for the denial and what you can do about it.

There are a number of approaches I would consider in your case. First, I would evaluate whether you have a good argument to ask for a change in your authorized treating physician. If you are not getting better and the independent medical exam doctor states that surgery is indicated, I think that the State Board would consider a request for change in treating physician. The law provides for such a change if the current doctor demonstrates a “failure to effect a cure or give relief.”

I would also discuss with you whether you might consider a settlement of your claim. Sometimes, when there is uncertainty in a claim (differing opinions by the doctors), you have an opportunity to maximize your settlement dollars since the insurance company faces an unknown risk in future surgeries and wage benefits. Settlement would only be appropriate if you feel comfortable that you could pursue medical treatment on your own and are prepared to assume that risk.