It happens once in awhile.
In an Oregon Workers' Compensation claim, medical opinions mean everything. Whether your claim is accepted, what medical treatment you are entitled to, whether you are compensated for permanent partial disability, and if you qualify to get vocational benefits all depends on the medical opinions. Your doctor, also called the "attending physician," has a lot of say over your claim. But sometimes, your ally will be the insurance company doctor.
The workers' compensation carrier will often hire an "independent" medical doctor to conduct an examination, and provide an opinion on whether an injury is work related, what the injury is, and how much impairment the injury caused. Many insurance company doctors routinely favor the insurance company. Some people have claimed there is a "three strikes and your out" rule in the insurance medical examination industry. If a doctor supports the injured worker three times, they are no longer welcome to do exams for insurance companies.
However, there are some IME doctors, although conservative, that will not shy from supporting an injured worker. Other than the obvious cases, these doctors will say the right thing. This sometimes happens when the treating doctor does not support the claim.
Treating physicians may honestly doubt the claim. They may not really know what the standard is to prove a claim, or, they just may not want to be involved in the workers' compensation process at all. A treating doctor knows that her opinion may be questioned. The doctor may have to meet with a claims adjuster, the employer's attorney, the injured worker's attorney, then give a deposition, and be crossed examined. This is time consuming, and no fun. That is why many doctors do not even treat injured workers.
If you are dealing with this situation, you have options. You can change your doctor, but only so many times. Your attorney, if you have one, can take the doctor's deposition to clear things up, in certain cases.
As with everything else in Oregon Workers' Comp., if you want to change your doctor, there is a form involved. Click here to download and 827 form.