Insurance company preventing an injured worker a second opinion?

by Gail
(St Louis, MO)

I was backed into and pinned to a wall by a forklift while working for a temporary service at a work site. The forklift driver did not use his horn nor was there a back up beeper on the forklift. Now I have several damaged disks from the top to the bottom of my back.

The insurance company sent me to a doctor but they are saying they won't pay for me to get a second opinion. Is this legal? Also, what are my rights in terms of treatment for this injury? Is the temp service responsible for paying, or the business where I was working when it happened? Thank you.

Visitor Question:
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ANSWER for "Insurance company preventing an injured worker a second opinion?":

Gail (St Louis, MO):

In most cases, employees working for temporary employment agencies who are injured on assigned job sites may only turn to their employer (the temp agency) for compensation for injuries sustained while on temporary assignment.

In this case, your injury claim would be a workers' compensation claim against the temp employment agency. It is likely they carry a form of workers' comp insurance.

Because the company on whose premises you were injured has a contractual relationship with your employment agency, and not you, your recourse cannot be against the company to which you were assigned, and upon whose premises you were injured.

As a result, you should file a worker's compensation claim with the temp agency.

There is in exception. If the company to which you were assigned to work displayed "gross negligence," or a "wanton disregard" for your health and safety. Then, in additional to filing a worker's comp claim with the temp agency, you can file a personal injury lawsuit against the company on whose premises you were injured.

Unfortunately, from the facts you present, there doesn't appear to be evidence of gross negligence or a wanton disregard for your health and safety.

While the forklift driver's failure to use his horn, and the back up beepers failing to sound constitute negligence, that negligence doesn't seem to rise to the required elements of gross negligence or a wanton disregard for your health and safety.

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from an attorney licensed in your state. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here, or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck,

Judge Calisi

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