Visitor Question

Which Doctor Has Authority?

Submitted By: Debbie (Virginia)

I fell at work after returning from surgery and re-injured the same area.

Workers Comp allowed me to see the attending surgeon for my right side and had me see their doctor for my left.

If my surgeon says I can’t work until my arm shows improvement, and their doctor says I can return to work doing light duty, which one will be recognized?

Also, I am right handed and that’s the more severely hurt side, plus I have a crack in the left wrist.

I need to collect benefits, so which doctor has the authority for workers comp to acknowledge? Thanks.

Disclaimer: Our response is not formal legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. It is generic legal information based on the very limited information provided. Do not rely upon the information in our response, or anywhere else on this site, when deciding the proper course of a legal matter. Always get a personalized case review from a local attorney.


Dear Debbie,

Both doctor’s diagnoses and prognoses will be weighed and balanced. There isn’t any workers compensation statute prescribing which doctor’s opinion must be accepted and recognized.

The problem will arise if your employer refuses to acknowledge and accept your private doctor’s diagnosis and prognosis. If that happens and they refuse to pay you while you are out of work you may be short on options.

If your employer requires you return to light duty and you think you can, then you probably should. If not, your employer might consider suspending or terminating your employment. If that happens you won’t have any income, whether from light duty or regular hours.

You can be confident your employer will probably rely on their own doctor’s diagnosis and prognosis. They have that right and don’t be surprised if they exercise it. Do your best to accommodate your employer. Do everything you can to convince their doctor of the seriousness of your injuries.

Finally, ask your doctor to call the company’s doctor. By doing so your doctor may be able to convince the other doctor of your actual injuries and disability.

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

Best of luck,

Published: April 18, 2012

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