Visitor Question

Getting multiple medical opinions for pain from spine injury?

Submitted By: Anonymous (toms river , New Jersey)

I was injured with hernia which they fixed, but was experiencing burning in my thighs and some pain in my stomach area. The doctor sent me for an orthopedic consult. They took an MRI which revealed a herniated disc and spinal stenosis. The spine surgeon gave me two options: injections or surgery. He ordered one Epidural and told me it will not work. I did the injection anyway but it failed. I then said do the surgery.

Workers comp then sent me to another doctor for a second opinion, which stated I should not have surgery. Their doctor ordered more therapy and are pushing nerve pain pills. I never get a straight answer from him on what is causing the pain.

My lower back has pain, my legs are killing me and they are numb at times. Sometime my feet feel like they are going explode. Each day that goes by I feel worse. I have to drive 2 hours to all my appointments which is killing me. Can I seek a third opinion on my own, without Workers’ comp involvement? Do I have any other options? Thank you.

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 Anonymous,

The New Jersey Workers Compensation Board does not permit workers to choose their own doctor. Doctors are chosen by the employer, or the employer’s insurance company. You may choose to see your own personal doctor, but will have to pay for such treatment.

You may though request an informal hearing before the Board to ask them to pay your personal doctor. If the Board believes doing so will result in a more fair disposition of your injury and treatment, the Board may permit you to see your own doctor (and the Board will pay for it).

See this document for more information: New Jersey Workers Compensation Rules Subchapter 4. Section 12:235-4.1

In spite of the fact that your employer or your employer’s insurance company chooses the doctor, that doctor still must maintain a doctor-patient relationship with you. This means that the doctor’ duty is owed to the you and not to your employer. Despite the fact there is often a conflict of interest with workers’ comp doctors, if the physician violates the medical standard of care, then it may result in personal liability.

Learn more here: Back Injuries at Work

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 888-972-0892.

We wish you the best with your claim,


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