Simply put, under the New Jersey Workers’ Compensation Statute, you are not entitled to a second opinion from a doctor.
There are two common situations where a second opinion is requested: 1) when the doctor releases you back to work and you don’t feel that you are able to go back to work; and 2) when surgery or an invasive procedure is being considered. You should speak to your case manager or the insurance adjuster and request a second opinion, but again, they are not required to provide one.
In many cases where surgery is being recommended by the authorized treating doctor, the workers’ compensation insurance carrier will authorize a second opinion. If the carrier is not willing to authorize it you may be able to get one through your private health insurance. In cases like this you should consult an attorney first. If it is not done properly you could be responsible for the doctor’s bill.
If it is a situation where the authorized treating doctor is saying you don’t need any additional treatment, it is unlikely that the carrier will voluntarily provide a second opinion. An attorney will be more successful in obtaining a second opinion in this instance.
If you have any questions about getting a second opinion on your case, you should speak with an experienced New Jersey workers’ compensation attorney. The attorney can review the facts of your case and the specifics of your injury and advise you on how to proceed. It doesn’t cost anything to retain an attorney as workers’ compensation cases are handled on a contingency fee basis.