The workers compensation doctor has released me to return to full duty; however, I am still in a lot of pain, and I do not feel that I’ll be able to do my job. What options do I have?
Answer: As we just alluded to, it is simply a fact that some doctors are more sympathetic to the insurance companies and the employers and always seem to be eager to get employees back to work before they are really ready. Sometimes, it is even before figuring out what is really going on with an employee’s injuries.
By the same token, there are other doctors who are more sympathetic to the injured employees, and are less likely to return an employee to work until they are confident that all avenues of treatment and diagnostic testing have been appropriately explored.
As we discussed above in response to the previous FAQ, there really is no mechanism under Virginia Workers Compensation for a worker to request an Independent Medical Examination, or second opinion.
That being said, you are entitled to go to and pay to see any doctor you want, but that does not mean the workers comp carrier will have to pay for it; however, there are circumstances where we have been successful in forcing the workers compensation carrier to pay for the private doctor whom you choose. Those circumstances are usually preceded by a clear and unequivocal written statement in the records of the workers compensation doctor saying that there is nothing more he or she can do for you and that he or she refuses to treat you further. If you then requested further treatment from the carrier and were denied, that would be good grounds to switch treating doctors to the physician of your choice.
In the right circumstances, we can also help increase the chances that the doctor whom you see will give you a fair shake and a proper examination that will result in an opinion beneficial to your claim. We are familiar with the doctors who are more likely to be open- minded about your injuries.