Unless you have a very obvious surgical problem, it usually takes two to three months for the adjuster on your worker's compensation claim to schedule a consultation with an orthopedist or a neurosurgeon. I like to remove my clients quickly from the clinic mill, with a request for change of physicians right away. Otherwise, the clinic doctor waits months to request a surgical consultation after physical therapy hasn't made you better, and after the clinic doctor finally gets a MRI.
If you have a knee or shoulder injury, the consult is with an orthopedic doctor on the insurer's provider list. If you have a low back or a neck injury, the consult may be with either an orthopedist or a neurosurgeon. If you or your attorney has not done so already, ask for a copy of the insurer's provider list, and get help in selecting the best surgeon. Don't rely on the insurer to choose the best surgeon for the consultation.
Surgeons are very busy, and you want to be prepared to get answers. Copy the questions below and bring them with you, along with your MRI films.
1. Do you think surgery is necessary?
2. Can my injury be treated without surgery?
3. What can go wrong if I get surgery?
4. If I don't have surgery, will my condition get worse?
5. How long do you expect me to be off work after surgery?
6. Do you think I will be able to go back to my regular job, or will I have permanent work restrictions?
You are entitled to get a copy of the surgeon's dictated report by requesting it from your adjuster, or ask the surgeon's office directly. It takes about a week to ten days for the report to be dictated.