When you sustain an injury on the job, you expect your Florida employer to compensate you for said injury. However, before workers’ compensation kicks in, you must undergo a medical exam performed by an employer-approved physician. That physician must confirm two things: 1) that you sustained an injury and 2) that you sustained said injury on the job. If the physician reports findings that say any differently, you will not qualify for workers’ comp. You may wonder if you can combat adverse findings with a second opinion. The Legal Examiner explains that you can, but doing so will not be easy.
In The Sunshine State, if you lose confidence in your initial physician, you have two options: Request a one-time change in doctors or pay up to $2,500 for an independent medical exam from a doctor of your choosing. Per F.S. 440.13(2)(f), you may request a change in physicians just once during your case without penalty. Once you make a change, however, you cannot request another. Though this may seem like good news, know that you do not get to select the new physician — your employer does. Unfortunately, workers’ comp doctors often work for the insurer, so it is unlikely the new doctor’s findings will differ much from those of the first doctor.
If you are dissatisfied with the second physician’s findings, you can always resort to requesting an independent medical exam. When you elect for an independent exam, you may pick a doctor of your choice. However, this freedom to choose will cost you between $1,000 and $2,500. The good news is that the independent doctor does not work for the insurer and so is more likely to give you an impartial diagnosis. However, you must ask yourself if the benefits you stand to gain offset the initial cost of the examination.
The content in this article is not meant to serve as legal advice. It is for informational purposes only.