This article discusses a NC Employer’s Right to 2nd Medical Opinion. If you are the injured worker and want to know if your employer can get a 2nd medical opinion that may or may not be in your favor, read on. You may also want to read about the NC injured worker’s right to a 2nd opinion.
NC Employer’s Right to 2nd Medical Opinion
It has long been established in North Carolina that employers have the right to direct the medical care for injured workers in accepted workers’ compensation claims. What are accepted versus denied claims?
Accepted Worker’s Compensation Claims
An accepted workers’ compensation claim means that your employer and/or employer’s workers’ compensation insurance carrier has agreed to accept responsibility for payment and treatment of your on-the-job accident related injury. In an accepted claim, an employer also has a general right to obtain independent medical or surgical examinations for an injured worker in cases where an employer admits it was fault N.C. Gen Stat §97-27(a). In other words, an employer may request for an injured worker to submit to an independent medical examination with a non-treating physician. An injured worker must comply with the employer’s request for an independent medical examination in these admitted cases. There are penalties for an injured worker who does not comply with the employer’s right to an independent medical examination, such as withholding the injured worker’s weekly workers’ compensation benefit payments until he/she complies with the employer’s request.
Denied Worker’s Compensation Claims
You may be thinking, “can an employer request an injured worker to submit to an independent medical examination if his/her workers’ compensation claim has been denied by the employer or the employer’s workers’ compensation insurance company?” The answer to that question is “yes”. North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Law significantly changed in June, 2011. Since June 24, 2011, the language in the law states that an employer may require an injured worker to submit to an independent medical examination at the employer’s expense “even if the employee’s claim has been denied pursuant to G.S. §97-18” N.C. Gen. Stat §97-27(a). Even though an employer may have this right, the injured worker has the right to have provide and pay for a physician to be present at the independent medical examination. The injured workers’ right to provide a separate physician at the employer requested second opinion evaluation may be more difficult, because it requires the employee to pay for his/her own physician and have the physician leave their practice to attend the evaluation.
If you have questions about a NC Employer’s Right to 2nd Medical Opinion or if you need assistance with medical treatment in your workers’ compensation claim, you should speak with a NC Workers’ Compensation Lawyer. Call The Bishop Law Firm today at (919) 615-3095. We represent Workers’ Compensation clients in Raleigh, Durham, Rocky Mount, Wilson, Smithfield, Louisburg, Chapel Hill, Roanoke Rapids and surrounding areas in North Carolina. We are here to help you with the difficult as well as simple workers’ compensation issues.