Some work injuries are minor and only keep employees away from work for a few days, but for others, they require a lot more medical treatment. If your injury is severe, or if your doctor determines that the injury may not heal correctly with conservative treatment, you may need to undergo surgery. Clients often have a number of questions when it comes to surgery after a work injury, and we’re going to try to answer some of those questions in today’s blog.
Surgery After A Work Injury
When it comes to getting you the best medical care after surgery, the state almost always tries to put the patient first. For example, you don’t need to have your claim approved before you go in for surgery. This makes sense, because if your foot is crushed by a two-ton machine, you’re not going to wait weeks to ensure your claim is approved before going in for surgery. As long as your claim is approved, the insurance company will cover the cost of surgery or compensate you for the money you paid towards your medical treatment.
As Minnesota statute 176.135 Subd. 1a states, “the employer shall furnish any medical, surgical and hospital treatment as may reasonably be required at the time of the injury and any time thereafter to cure or relieve from the effects of the injury.” This means you can seek surgical intervention immediately after the injury or at a later date if the work injury is responsible for the damage.
Second Surgical Opinion
Similarly, Minnesota generally favors the injured employee when it comes to seeking a second medical opinion. Either the employee or the company can request a second medical opinion, and your employer’s insurance company will be required to pay for the second evaluation. That means if you have been told you don’t need surgery and you want a second opinion, or you’ve been told you need surgery but you want a second look by a different doctor, your employer’s insurance company is obligated to cover the cost of that consultation. It’s also worth noting that an employer may not request a second opinion if the injury requires an emergency operation. The right to a second opinion by the employer only applies during non-emergency declarations of surgery.
If your employer requests that you seek a second opinion before surgery, talk to your workers’ compensation attorney and do not ignore their request. If you refuse to attend a second opinion that has been requested by the employer, the insurance company can deny your payment if they have medical proof that surgery was not a “reasonable treatment.” With that said, it’s important to talk to your lawyer if your company requests a second opinion to ensure the second evaluation is performed by an impartial third party. Some companies may try to direct you towards a physician with a history of erring against surgery as a treatment, so you want to ensure there are no ulterior motives behind your company’s request to visit a specific doctor.
What If My Claim Is Denied After Surgery?
As we noted above, it’s entirely possible that you undergo surgery for an injury that occurred at work before your claim is approved. On the off chance that your claim for surgical compensation is denied, or some of your related medical expenses are not covered in the claim payment, be sure to contact a workers’ compensation attorney right away. There are deadlines to file an appeal, and your lawyer will want to assess all the facts as soon as possible.
If compensation for your surgery was denied, or you have more questions about surgery for a work injury, contact the office of Dean Margolis today.
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